Published date : 30 Sep 2016

Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth, today used her first Scottish Parliament Members’ Business debate to highlight the importance of mental health education in terms of closing the attainment gap and improving the lives of youngsters in Mid Fife and Glenrothes and throughout Scotland.

She chose to raise the issue in Parliament having been contacted by, a local pupil at Glenrothes High School, who was concerned at the fact mental health education was not a compulsory part of the curriculum.


Speaking during the debate, Jenny Gilruth MSP told the chamber:

“If the Government is to close the attainment gap and drive aspiration and ambition in the next generation then I believe, like Rachel, that it is imperative that schools get to grips with mental health education.

The SNP MSP highlighted the Scottish Government’s commitment to mental health issues through the new mental health strategy and drew on the work and findings of a number of organisations, including the TIE campaign, Stonewall Scotland and the Scottish Association for Mental Health, to call on the Government to include clear guidance on the delivery of mental health education in schools as part of this new Mental Health Strategy to be published later this year. Speaking during the debate, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:

“Young people need to know what good mental health means.

They need to be taught about the importance of sport in developing positive mental health, for example. They need to understand how positive relationships with others can decrease depression and anxiety, for example. They need to be taught resilience within the ‘safe space’ of the classroom, as Rachel explained to me in May of this year.

The Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP also reflected on her time as a teacher and how it had shaped her views on the role of schools in developing young people’s mental health and building resilience in young people. Commenting Jenny Gilruth MSP said:

“There are many positive impacts of mental health education and implementing it in the curriculum will be crucial in our efforts to close the attainment gap given the links between poverty and poor mental health. Giving pupils the information that sport and positive relationships can benefit mental health will help empower young people with knowledge of what support is available to them.

“The Scottish Government has been active in taking the lead by having a dedicated mental health minister and through the development of a mental health strategy due to be published later this year. Continuing these efforts in education will be central in our efforts to ensure every child and young person has the very best start in life.”



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