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Mental health and emotional wellbeing education in school nursing practice

02 February 2022
12 min read
Volume 3 · Issue 1

Abstract

The emotional health and wellbeing (EHWB) of children and young people (C&YP) are of particular significance to specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN) in the field of school nursing practice as they are key contributors to the health and development of children. This paper will discuss the findings of a strategy critique and a small literature review, aimed at determining if school-based mental health promotion positively influences C&YP's EHWB and how this can affect school nursing practice in Wales.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated worldwide that 10–20% of children experience mental health difficulties (Kieling et al, 2011; Bor et al, 2014) and in an average sized classroom, three children struggled with poor mental health having a detrimental effect on their education, social and physical development and ultimately their overall wellbeing (Barry et al, 2013; Neagle, 2018). However, the unintended consequences of the two national COVID-19 lockdowns – disruption to education resulting in reduced and remote learning, increased isolation, loneliness, and reduced access to supportive professionals – that children and young people have experienced since March 2020, have increased poor mental health and wellbeing (Senedd Commission, 2020; Children's Commissioner for Wales, 2021). SCPHN school nurses play an integral role to identify and provide appropriate support and interventions when a child or young person struggles with poor mental health. Although this paper relates to Wales and Welsh policy, it is important to note that the findings are transferable and therefore pertinent to school nursing practice across the UK.

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