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Last updated:

April 7, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Children’s mental health is a global concern and children are increasingly being diagnosed with mental health conditions

In England in 2017, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that 10% of children are being diagnosed with a mental health condition.This is a figure that is similar across other countries in the UK. For example, 10% of children in Scotland are similarly affected by mental health conditions. A 2018 report by the Welsh Assembly stated that it is estimated that three children in every average-size classroom will have a mental health problem. In Northern Ireland, it has been stated that more than 20% of young people are suffering from 'significant mental health problems' by the time they reach age 18.

There are many other children who show signs that are associated with a mental health condition, such as anxiety and depression, but are not formally diagnosed. There are many factors that influence children’s enjoyment of their lives. Some are within each child, such as their personality and their level of resilience. Other factors that influence children’s mental health include where they live, who they live with and the relationships they have with others. In addition, there are global influences, such as the geographical location and political situation of a country, as well as health-related global events such as a pandemic. While the context of children’s lives undoubtedly contributes to their sense of wellbeing, this course highlights that there is much that can be done within society to improve children’s sense of wellbeing and prevent poor mental health.

Listen to Dr Jackie Musgrave, one of the authors of the course, describing more about the course content, which focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of babies and young children (aged 0–8 years), and its importance.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our start-of-course survey . Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our end-of-course survey . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office  .  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD.

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the influences on mental health in young children age 0–5
  • Identify the factors that contribute to good mental health in children
  • Explore national and global influences on children's mental health
  • Develop knowledge about strategies and interventions to improve mental health in children
  • Examine how adults and society can support children's mental health and wellbeing.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction and guidance 00:15:00
  • What is a badged course? 00:10:00
  • How to get a badge 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Historical perspectives of children’s mental health 00:10:00
    • Key events in the history of children’s mental health 00:20:00
    • Case study: the impact of war on children 00:20:00
    • The Second World War in Europe 00:15:00
    • Post-Second World War period: key events in children’s mental health 00:20:00
    • Contemporary children’s mental health 00:15:00
    • Resources that promote a child’s mental health and wellbeing 00:15:00
    • Mental health terms 00:20:00
    • Personal reflection 00:05:00
    • Summary of Session 1 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Understanding children’s mental health 00:20:00
    • Understanding children’s development 00:20:00
    • Knowledge of mental health 00:10:00
    • Definitions of specific, common mental health conditions or issues affecting young children 00:30:00
    • The impact of physical health on mental health 00:15:00
    • The impact of mental health issues on children’s education and development 00:05:00
    • The potential impact on children’s development 00:10:00
    • The potential impact on children’s behaviour 00:10:00
    • The potential impact on children’s education 00:15:00
    • ‘Triggers’ for children’s anxiety in early childhood and school settings 00:20:00
    • Personal reflection 00:05:00
    • Summary of Session 2 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Understanding mental health promotion and education 00:10:00
    • Mental health promotion 00:10:00
    • Promoting mental health among children 00:10:00
    • Health education about young children’s mental health 00:10:00
    • The ‘ingredients’ of good mental health and wellbeing in young children 00:10:00
    • A recipe for good mental health 00:10:00
    • Attachment theory: what is attachment? 00:10:00
    • Background to attachment theory 00:15:00
    • The importance of attachment theory 00:15:00
    • Emotional containment 00:15:00
    • The effects of attachment relationships on young children’s mental health and wellbeing 00:10:00
    • Transitioning from home to other early years settings 00:10:00
    • Preventing and minimising the impact of adverse childhood experiences 00:15:00
    • Promoting perseverance and resilience 00:10:00
    • Factors that support the development of resilience in children 00:15:00
    • Personal reflection 00:05:00
    • Summary of Session 3 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Influences and factors that can impact on children’s wellbeing and mental health 00:05:00
    • Geography 00:15:00
    • Politics 00:10:00
    • Economic influences 00:15:00
    • Social and cultural influences 00:10:00
    • The status of children 00:15:00
    • Different childhoods 00:05:00
    • Street children 00:15:00
    • Child soldiers 00:10:00
    • Child labour 00:15:00
    • Refugee children 00:20:00
    • Separation from family 00:15:00
    • Personal reflection 00:05:00
    • Summary of Session 4 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Promoting wellbeing in young children’s care and education 00:10:00
    • Early years education and care curriculum 00:10:00
    • Aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage 00:15:00
    • The key person approach 00:10:00
    • Primary school-aged children’s mental health 00:15:00
    • Listening to children 00:10:00
    • Practical ways of listening to children: circle time 00:10:00
    • The importance of play and creativity in promoting children’s wellbeing 00:10:00
    • Promoting good mental health in primary education 00:07:00
    • A whole school approach 00:10:00
    • Policies to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing 00:03:00
    • Government policy 00:15:00
    • Policies in settings 00:05:00
    • Behaviour management 00:15:00
    • Safeguarding 00:05:00
    • Anti-bullying 00:15:00
    • Early interventions: going beyond preventative 00:05:00
    • Nurture groups in primary schools 00:10:00
    • Developing resilience 00:07:00
    • Personal reflection 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 5 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Professionals involved in children’s mental health 00:40:00
    • Getting help from other professionals: making referrals 00:10:00
    • Interdisciplinary working 00:03:00
    • Key principles of interdisciplinary and multi-agency working 00:05:00
    • Benefits of interdisciplinary and multi-agency working 00:10:00
    • Challenges of interdisciplinary and multi-agency working 00:15:00
    • Interdisciplinary and multi-agency working: ingredients for success 00:03:00
    • Working with voluntary organisations 00:15:00
    • Personal reflection 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 6 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Counselling and therapy 00:10:00
    • dult–child power imbalance 00:10:00
    • Cognitive behavioural therapy 00:03:00
    • Aims of cognitive behavioural therapy with young children 00:10:00
    • Implementing CBT in practice 00:15:00
    • Play therapy 00:10:00
    • Play therapy in action 00:35:00
    • Art therapy with refugee children 00:10:00
    • Medication 00:15:00
    • The pros and cons of medication 00:10:00
    • Trauma-informed schools 00:20:00
    • Parenting programmes 00:10:00
    • Evaluating parenting programmes 00:10:00
    • Personal reflection 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 7 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Screen time and internet use in the early years 00:10:00
    • The future 00:10:00
    • Resources for parents and professionals 00:10:00
    • Personal reflection 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 8 00:10:00

About the instructor

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