Supporting Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing – A free open learn course from Early Childhood at the Open University

Dr Jackie Musgrave, Programme Lead of Early Childhood at the Open University, has told us about this new free online course. The following text is copied from the course flyer:

This course focuses on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young children from birth to aged 8 years. The content is aimed at all adults who have an interest, professionally or personally, in the care and education of young children. This introductory course is free and can be accessed online here ; it is designed to be studied over eight weeks and will take approximately 24 hours. On completion you will receive a free certificate of participation and earn an Open University digital badge to display and share your achievement.

Children’s mental health is a global concern with increasing diagnoses of child mental health conditions. In England in 2017, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that 10% of children were diagnosed with a mental health condition. The figures are similar in Scotland and Wales whilst in Northern Ireland, it has been stated that more than 20% of young people suffer from ‘significant mental health problems’ by the time they reach age 18. Many other children show signs associated with mental ill-health, such as anxiety and depression, but are not formally diagnosed. There are multiple factors that influence children’s enjoyment and experiences of life; some are ‘within’ each child, such as their personality or level of resilience. External factors also influence children’s mental health, such as living conditions or family and other relationships. In addition, there are global influences, such as a country’s geographical location and political situation, as well as health-related global events such as the current pandemic. While the context of children’s lives undoubtedly contributes to their mental health, this course highlights that there is much that can be done to improve children’s sense of wellbeing and prevent poor mental health.

The sessions cover the following subjects:

  1. Setting the scene by looking at the past
  2. Increasing your knowledge of mental health
  3. Mental health promotion and education
  4. A global view of children’s mental health and wellbeing
  5. Wellbeing and mental health in education settings
  6. Professional support for children and their mental health
  7. Exploring some of the interventions to support children’s mental health
  8. The influence of screen time on young children’s mental health and wellbeing

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