Watlington Primary School

Watlington Primary School

Home Page

What is Mental Health?

What Is Mental Health?


Mental health encompasses social, physiological, and emotional wellbeing, involving the ability to function and cope with daily life. Contrary to popular belief, mental health is relevant to everyone, not just those with mental health problems. Mental health can fluctuate over time, similar to physical health.


The term ‘mental health’ is used to describe various conditions that cause changes in feelings or behaviours. Examples include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and psychosis. This list is not exhaustive.


It is worth noting that one in ten children will experience mental health issues, and more than 50% of these issues begin before the age of 14. For further statistics on mental health, you can find information here:


Children and young people undergo various behavioural changes as part of their growth process. While some changes are typical for young people, in certain cases, they may indicate the development of mental health conditions. Action for children has devised an easy way to help adults recognise common signs that can be useful in identifying concerns about a child or young person’s mental health. They can be remembered using the acronym ‘MASK’.


M – Mood. Look out for argumentative behaviour, aggression, negative emotions, self-criticism, and withdrawal in children and young people.

A – Actions. Changes in eating or sleeping patterns, signs of bullying, substance misuse, or self-harm (such as cutting, burning, or hair pulling) can indicate mental health issues.

S – Social. Losing touch with friends, changing friendship groups, appearing lonely or withdrawn, and losing interest in school or hobbies can be signs of mental health illnesses.

K – Keep talking. Children and young people may not readily express their feelings. Don’t give up, keep asking how they are feeling, let them know you care, and that you’ll be there for them.

Welcome to our wonderful school!