Call for mental health services to be brought into schools

The TES reports that Thinktank urges the government to make mental health a mandatory part of initial teacher training.

Mental health services for children and teenagers should be brought into schools, to prevent more than half a million pupils from being failed by the system, says a new report published by the thinktank Localis.

It argues that, despite £1.4 billion recently being allocated to improve child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs), more than 555,000 primary and secondary pupils with a diagnosable mental illness will not receive NHS-funded mental-health care by 2020-21.

The Localis report states that, “despite school-based interventions being one of the most cost-effective and proximate to a young person’s everyday life”, very few local authorities are planning to commission school-based services. Specifically, the report highlights the fact that while 75 per cent of Camhs’ improvement plans cite school-based approaches to mental health, only 3 per cent propose placing counsellors in schools.

However, the Localis report claims that many public-service professionals, such as teachers, lack the confidence to support young people in the early stages of dealing with mental health issues. As a result, they refer pupils to Camhs, overburdening specialists.

The Localis report recommends that local authorities should be statutorily obliged to provide school-based support services for all secondary pupils. Up to 6.5 per cent of pupil-premium money should be retained in order to fund these services, it says

In addition, it suggests that school forums in every local area should be awarded the powers to suggest a lead mental health coordinator to oversee local strategies.

Read more Call for mental health services to be brought into schools

What do you think? Has the way mental health issues are catered for changed in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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