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How Proactive Monitoring Can Help Identify Pupils at Risk of Mental Health Issues in Your School or College

3 minute read
By Smoothwall

A recent study from Ditch the Label has revealed that 42% of children and young people that participated in the research have experienced anxiety, 25% have experienced depression, and 21% had suicidal thoughts. Results such as these are very concerning and highlight the magnitude of children and young people who are already dealing with mental health issues.

School and college leaders must ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of their students, which can be quite a challenge especially since many different factors can influence a child’s wellbeing. Mental health problems can have a huge impact on a young person’s life, which is why schools and colleges must be able to identify students at risk of mental health issues, so they can support them and create a safe environment for their pupils.

How can proactive monitoring help you identify pupils at risk of mental health issues?

Proactive monitoring provides the school or college with an extra pair of eyes and ears, alerting the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) about any safeguarding risks identified in the school’s digital environment.

Combining AI technology and human expertise to help identify children and young people that are at risk, it monitors pupils’ online behaviour including what they say, do or search for. To minimise the number of false positives, moderators review the identified incidents and only alert DSLs about genuine risks and issues, which allows them to spend their limited time concentrating on the children and young people that need vital support.

Proactive monitoring is designed to make the invisible, visible, and to identify early risk indicators which can help schools and colleges understand what their students are struggling with to offer them the support they need quickly.

Young people are often too embarrassed or possibly scared to seek help from teachers when they are dealing with feelings or thoughts that they don’t understand or are worried about. Instead, they are more likely to look for answers on the internet or speak to their friends. Many of these conversations happen in chat rooms, forums, or social media platforms. This is why having a monitoring solution in place is crucial, as without it, schools and colleges have no visibility of what is happening in their digital environment.

Knowing if children and young people are searching for help or trying to access harmful or inappropriate information can aid schools and colleges in understanding their students’ thoughts and feelings. This gives DSLs a better chance at offering more effective support and help to look after their mental health and wellbeing.

Proactive monitoring can help identify many different safeguarding risk types including substance abuse, self-harm, grooming, radicalisation, cyberbullying and sexual harassment. It can also support the school or college community as a whole, helping to identify dangerous behavioural trends or groups that may be at higher risks of specific safeguarding issues. This kind of information and knowledge gives teachers and DSLs an advantage, as it enables them to make informed decisions on how to tackle safeguarding risks identified in their school community.

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