Pupils from hundreds of schools across England will start practising mindfulness and breathing exercises as part of a huge mental health study.
To mark Children's Mental Health week, which this year runs from 4 - 11 February, education secretary Damian Hinds said 370 schools in England will take part in the trials, which aim to investigate mental health in schoolchildren.
Education secretary Damian Hinds. Credit: PA
Students at the schools will engage in mindfulness exercises as well as breathing and relaxation techniques to help them 'regulate their emotions', according to a statement from the Government.
During the study, which is set to run until 2021, pupils will also take part in sessions with mental health experts and an emphasis will be made on the importance of support networks, including among their classmates.
It's hoped that once the study is complete, schools and the Government will have evidence of what works best for the mental health and well-being of school children.
Hinds said: "As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children, while potentially making others worse.
"Schools and teachers don't have all the answers, nor could they, but we know they can play a special role which is why we have launched one of the biggest mental health trials in schools. These trials are key to improving our understanding of how practical, simple advice can help young people cope with the pressures they face.
"To support this, we're introducing compulsory health education in all schools, within which children will start to be introduced gradually to issues around mental health, well-being and happiness right from the start of primary school.
"We are rolling out significant additional resources to schools to improve mental health provision at an earlier stage through the Government's Green Paper proposals, including awareness of 'mental health first aid' techniques and teams of trained mental health staff to work with and in schools."
The trials will test five different approaches, including raising awareness of mental health issues with information sessions and exercises based on typical mindfulness techniques.
Imran Hussain, Action for Children's director of policy and campaigns, said: "Every day our frontline services see children and teenagers struggling to get to grips with how they fit into the increasingly complex modern world - contending with things like intense pressure at school, bullying or problems at home, all while being bombarded by social media.
"It's really encouraging to see the Government taking action to tackle the children's mental health crisis by trialling different approaches in schools.
"We know from our own school programmes how vital it is to step in early with support to stop problems in their tracks."
Featured Image Credit: PA