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    The mental health and emotional needs of secondary age students in the United Kingdom

    Waite, M, Atkinson, C and Oldfield, J ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7518-118X (2022) The mental health and emotional needs of secondary age students in the United Kingdom. Pastoral Care in Education, 40 (2). pp. 238-255. ISSN 0264-3944

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    There is a growing policy focus on children and young people’s mental health. The United Kingdom (UK) government has positioned schools as being well-placed to identify children and young people’s mental health needs and to provide appropriate intervention. At the same time, school staff report a lack of skills, knowledge and systems to support the early identification of mental health needs in order to inform appropriate intervention. The aim of this study was to explore the mental health and emotional needs of secondary age students from schools across the North West of England. Eight hundred and eighty-four students aged between 11 and 16 completed an online questionnaire comprising the Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ), which measures depressive symptoms and the Human Givens Emotional Needs Audit (ENA), which explores the extent to which fundamental emotional needs (e.g., for attention, control and security) are met. The findings suggest prevalence rates of mental health and wellbeing difficulties increase with age. Emotional needs as measured in the ENA were found to moderately correlate with total scores on the SMFQ, suggesting the importance of supporting these identified needs in promoting wellbeing. Additionally, the ENA could potentially offer insight into why students may be experiencing problems, signposting practical areas of support. It is therefore proposed to be a measure that schools could use to identify factors contributing to children and young people’s experience of mental health and wellbeing and possible areas for intervention.

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    6 month trend

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