A Nottinghamshire-based foundation has started a petition to make mental health education a compulsory part of the curriculum in schools.
Adam Shaw set up the The Shaw Mind Foundation in Newark after battling with debilitating Obessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) all his life.
“It wasn’t just OCD that people think of where they think they need all their tins of beans lined up, I had OCD where I couldn’t be around anyone because thought I was going to kill or strangle someone,” he said.
“I was convinced I was going to do it, I was very close to suicide.”
After putting all his effort into a business and setting it up in 2014, Adam realised he had a passion for mental health and set up the foundation.
If the petition succeeds, it will see children learn about mental health issues in their ‘PSHE’ – Personal Social Health Education lessons.
“We want to ensure people and children and the next generation get mental health education – compulsory,” said Adam.
“It’s essential, generation after generation have been let down.”
The currently has more than 86,000 – if it gets to 100,000, it will be debated in Parliament.
Adam says while the education won’t stop people from having mental health conditions, it will normalise them and encourage more people to seek help.
“It supports teachers more and supports schools more, what that will do is reduce suicide figures by half in 15 years,” he added
“If we’re not educated, we don’t know where to turn.”
The petition deadline is May 3.
The Government has already responded to the petition, saying: “We want mental health to be an everyday concern in all institutions.
“Schools should decide how to teach pupils about mental health, developing their own curriculum to reflect the needs of their pupils.
“We need to make mental illness an everyday concern for all of us and in every one of our institutions – schools have an important role to play.
“We want schools to be able to decide themselves how to teach their pupils about mental health- developing their own local PSHE programme to reflect the needs of their pupils, drawing on resources and evidence provided by expert organisations.
“To support schools in developing their PSHE curriculum, we have funded the PSHE Association to produce guidance and age-appropriate lesson plans to teach about mental health.”
The Government added it is developing a new green paper on children and young people’s mental health, to be published later in the year, with new proposals for both improving services and increasing focus on preventative activity.