IB World spotlights the childhood mental health epidemic

Our new Conference Special edition for the International Baccalaureate looks at the schools taking proactive steps to manage students’ stress

Words by Sophie-Marie Odum

Mental health is not just an issue for adults. An increasing number of children around the world are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed and even suicidal.

In the UK, 82% of primary school leaders reported an increase in mental health issues among young children around the time of exams, according to a survey. Some are even suffering from sleeplessness and panic attacks. While in Hong Kong, 51.5% of secondary school students developed signs of depression between 2017-2018.

International Baccalaureate (IB) schools around the world are introducing prevention programmes to help all children prioritise their wellbeing, as the latest IB World Conference Special reports. These include mindfulness, meditation, yoga and physical exercise.

“We need to teach students that their self-worth is much more than their grades,” says clinical psychologist, Dr Jaime Chiu. “We must create more opportunities for students to develop their strengths and use these in meaningful ways.”

The IB World Conference Special will be distributed at the IB Global Conference, which takes place in Hong Kong from 24-26 March 2019. More than a 1,000 IB educators will come together to collaborate with colleagues from Asia-Pacific and all over the world, as well as listen to guest speakers and attend workshops.

The A5, 16-page magazine highlights the conference’s theme: ‘Generation IB’, which focuses on how IB educators develop generations of students with boldness, creativity and belief in themselves to embrace their dreams for a better, more peaceful world.

The issue received enthusiastic feedback from delegates and IB staff: “Time and again I receive positive feedback from our global community of educators about our content,” says IB’s Jane Wynn. “The articles we provide keep us at the cutting-edge of international education. They show the IB to be thought leaders in our field, and the content consistently and completely delivers professional writing for both IB World magazine and our online channels. This is entirely down to the Wonderly team, who ensure they understand our content needs and delivers this within the tight deadlines we maintain.”

Wonderly has worked with the IB for over a decade, producing IB World magazine, conference special editions and online content.

Editor Sophie-Marie Odum will soon begin preparing for the next conference special, which will be distributed at the IB Global Conference in New Orleans, in July 2019.

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