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A new initiative supported by BBC TV GP Dr Rangan Chatterjee is putting young minds at rest

IT used to be that reading, writing and arithmetic were the main priority in schools. But now, on World Mental Health Day, one group is calling for ‘wellbeing’ to be added to the timetable in schools across the globe.

International schools group Cognita say governments and teachers must launch initiatives around the world to help prevention and early detection. According to the World Health Organisation, 50 per cent of all mental health issues beginning before the age of 14.

The group’s campaign is backed by TV GP Dr Rangan Chatterjee (pictured) – BBC’s Doctor In The House.

He says: ‘We all know the extent of the wellbeing challenges young people face today – through the learning resources, films and lesson plans we’re creating, we are now able to support them wherever they are.’

Cognita have pulled together experts in sleep, screen time and social media, nutrition, exercise and neuroscience to design a full curriculum and wellbeing resource for all teachers, parents or pupils to access.

Tips include sleep guidance from Berkeley University’s Dr Matthew Walker, who advises that teens need nine to ten hours a night. Sleep helps process emotions, relationships and feelings, and is vital to mental health.

Meanwhile social media and screen time expert Beth Kerr says that too much time spent on both impede the things that promote wellbeing such as sleep, exercise, diet and face-to-face communication.

Last month, Cognita treated 45,000 students to a timetable of wellbeing activities, including comedy workshops in the north of England.

Now, the group is providing free resources to teachers to access wellbeing education. The move was supported by Catherine Roche, CEO of leading children’s mental health charity Place2Be, who says: ‘We believe that no child should have to faced mental health problems alone. Place2Be’s vision is for all children to have the vital early support they need to help them build resilience and thrive.’

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