A course designed to help teenagers tackle mental health issues is to be rolled out to secondary schools across West Lothian.
The mental health and well-being qualification for senior pupils aims to takes the stigma out of mental health issues and helps them address common misconceptions around emotional well-being.
The course was piloted last year, with pupils at Broxburn Academy and Inveralmond Community High School in Livingston earning the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 4 Mental Health and Well-being award.
The new Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) award was introduced following national consultation, and in recognition of the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on mental well-being and mental health.
The council’s education executive heard from pupils at Broxburn Academy, who highlighted how helpful the course had been both in personal terms and in relationships with fellow pupils and family.
The qualification seeks to address inaccuracies surrounding perceptions of mental health, provide accurate information, promote understanding and equip pupils with positive coping strategies to improve and maintain mental health and well-being.
Heather Hughes, the EIS president, welcomed the introduction of the course and was reassured by pupils that the coursework was considered easily accessible to all levels of ability.
West Lothian schools already offer a broad range of courses aimed at ensuring that young people develop the skills they need for learning, life and work, to support them into a sustained positive destination beyond school.
Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: “I’m delighted to hear about further excellent work in West Lothian schools around mental health and well-being.
“Results from Broxburn and Inveralmond Community High School are very positive, and I hope other schools in West Lothian can accommodate the qualification into their busy curriculums in the future.
“We know the importance of mental health and well-being to young people, and this is a positive step forward to reduce any stigma and help support them.”
By local democracy reporter Stuart Sommerville