Child mental health issues are always a concern for school nursing teams. There’s a growing body of evidence to support the belief that these concerns have been exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdowns. This article concerns the identification of mental health issues in children, the signs to look out for and how to identify those in need of intervention quickly.

Child Mental Health Issues Exacerbated by Pandemic

A lot of the media coverage about this problem has centred on speculation, as the pandemic and our response to it are evolving situations. However, as the Mental Health Foundation have reported in a review of 47 academic articles, the evidence is mounting. This is supported by observations from many school nursing teams that returned to work in schools from September.

So, we know there’s a problem, how can you quickly and efficiently identify which children are most at risk?

Online Health Needs Questionnaires

This is where health needs questionnaires come in. By conducting them online, using SchoolScreener Health Needs, school nurses can create or adapt online assessments quickly. They can then be deployed safely and without fuss. We can help with the technical side and template questionnaires, although full training is given to enable Providers to do this themselves.

Vision and Hearing Screening

Something else that we’ve noticed over the years is that being able to identify vision and hearing problems early also has a positive correlation with mental wellbeing. Perhaps the most striking example of this that we’ve encountered is a case study from Cookham Wood Young Offenders’ Institute. There they routinely screen for vision and hearing problems, as well as adolescent/child mental health issues.

One particular young man was seen as being temperamental, abusive and violent. The nurses discovered that he had undiagnosed vision and hearing problems, initially identified by use of SchoolScreener. His condition improved dramatically after treatment and post-release went on to attend university. Read the full story.

In Summary

  • Child mental health issues are being exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdowns but are these not the only cause.
  • School nursing teams need help in difficult circumstances to identify accurately and rapidly which children need intervention.
  • Technology can help with editable online questionnaires from SchoolScreener Health Needs.
  • Other products on the SchoolScreener platform also help identify the risk of child mental health issues; including vision screening and hearing screening.
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