Almost half of headteachers find it difficult to commission mental health services for pupils

The Independent reports that more than two-fifths of school leaders said a lack of knowledge of the support needed was stopping them from helping pupils, the survey from children’s mental health charity Place2Be found.

And more than a third of heads said they did not feel confident in commissioning a counsellor or therapist, according to the findings.

Headteachers, counsellors and psychotherapists were interviewed as part of the study – and nine in 10 respondents said funding issues limited the provision of mental health support at schools.

Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, said: “School leaders are already under immense pressure to deliver academic progress – and we shouldn’t expect them to become mental health experts as well.”

The findings come after education minister Nick Gibb told MPs during a select committee on mental health this week that examining pupils earlier on in their school careers could help alleviate stress.

And yesterday Ged Flynn, chief executive of suicide prevention charity Papyrus, said teachers should be prepared to speak to pupils about suicide if they noticed a change in the child’s behaviour.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a new £5m programme to train primary school staff in mental health first aid. 

It will help teachers spot the early signs of mental illness in young children and scheme introduced in secondary schools last summer.

Read more Almost half of headteachers find it difficult to commission mental health services for pupils

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