Wigan dad's call for topic to become core subject for pupils
A Wigan dad is calling for the Government to introduce a GCSE in mental health and well-being.
Father-of-two Peter Hill, from Beech Hill, wants the topic to become a core subject for key stage four students.
Peter who is also the founder of mental health group Place 2 Place believes the subject could help with the current mental health struggles of children and can go on to educate young people about its importance in the future.
He said: “The pandemic has highlighted the gaps in mental health and wellbeing awareness and shown people in all walks of life that mental health and well-being issues can affect anyone.
“The children that are studying GCSEs now are the health professionals of the future.
“If we are truly to prioritise this subject it needs teaching in the same capacity that physical health is taught. This would be an investment to protect our children’s mental health and the NHS for future generations.
“Things are beginning to change in how we deal with mental health but there is still more to be done. Our focus this year is to do all we can to push this movement through.
“It is a difficult thing to do as there is both supporters and people that put up barriers, but the majority of people agree that this topic and its understanding begins in those key years in high school.
“As a group, we have made some key strides within education over the past few years. Every child should be entitled to develop an understanding on the history of mental health and how the pandemic has impacted it even more.”
It is hoped the syllabus will include subjects such as mental health first aid, the impact of these issues, how mental health services work and how signposting work.
The movement has also been backed by former Wigan Warriors prop Danny Sculthorpe who is now an advocate for mental health after his own battles.
While Peter has support for his campaign, he recognises that there are people against it who work within in the education sector.
Peter, who lost a good friend to suicide, added: “We’ve been working with teachers and other education professionals and the general message I get is there is a fear that it will cause more issues and that people aren’t qualified to help.
“These are the barriers I want to break down.
“It is a change we need to make otherwise there will always be a stigma surrounding mental health.
“I believe that if I knew how to signpost for mental health, there are signs with my friend that I look back and think we could have reached out to help at an earlier age.
“We are trying to use the connections we have to put this on the agenda.
“My friend’s passing was a huge life event and we’ve done some amazing work since then.
“But if we could make this change and get this result it would be great."