SCHOOLS are ensuring their pupils are healthy in mind as well as in body.

Six schools in the area are among more than 30 across Greater Manchester taking part in a new initiative to help youngsters look after their mental wellbeing — and identify and provide support for children who have a mental health issue or illness early.

Figures show that one in 10 children and young people have diagnosable mental health condition —three children in a classroom of 30.

Taking part in the Greater Manchester mentally healthy schools pilot, developed by the region-wide Health and Social Care Partnership, are Sale High School, Trafford High School in Flixton, Wellacre Academy Secondary in Flixton, Manor High School in Trafford, Stretford Grammar Secondary and Acre Hall Primary in Urmston.

The schools will be supported in training teachers and in having specialist help drafted in.

And if the six-month pilot is a success, it will be rolled out to all schools in the region as part of wider plans to invest in mental health.

Dr Sandeep Ranote, children's mental health lead for Greater Manchester, described the scheme as a first.

She said: "This is about support, awareness, advice information and a programme that is for teaching staff and for young people.

"It's about a programme delivering a toolkit so if you are at school in Bolton or at a school in Oldham or at a school in Trafford, it doesn't matter where you are you have the right to access the same level and same quality of support around health and wellbeing.

"Prevention is really important — building that resilience However, its also very important to recognise mental illness is a real illness and some young people will need to access the right care and support and so we have within that pilot a specialist team that will actually be directly providing support and advice to our schools to rapidly access the right services."

Zulfi Jiva, who is also the mental health lead for the Greater Manchester partnership, said even the youngest children face pressures which can affect mental health, such as exams.

He said: "We do get a lot of children who do get worried and whose stress levels increase at exam time, and we need to manage that and to ensure that does not translate into a longer term issue for those children.

"If we manage this well now we can help prevent them from getting ill in the future especially in terms of further pressures. If we develop that resilience now when they go into secondary schools it is much easier for them to build on that.

"I think previously while physical health and academic success have been prioritised I think mental health and wellbeing has been an area that has been neglected."

World champion Thai boxer Rachael MacKenzie helped launch the pilot in a neighbouring authority.

She along with other inspiring athletes will mentor children to help them develop positive mental attitude in overcoming challenges.