The Telegraph reports that schoolchildren will be given better access to NHS mental health workers in a bid to stop depression and anxiety from becoming “entrenched” and “destroying” their lives.
Prince Harry was praised for his bravery after revealing in an interview with The Telegraph that he had sought counselling to help come to terms with the death of his mother.
Ministers are now examining plans to station NHS professionals in secondary schools on a full-time basis for a green paper on young people and mental health that will be unveiled later this year.
They want to “normalise” discussions about mental health in school to tackle concerns that rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years.
He said that his brother had tried to help him, saying: “This is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk about stuff, it’s OK.”
The Prince and his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have together driven Heads Together, a charity which promotes good mental well-being. The prince’s decision to speak out was also lauded as “a true turning point” by mental health charity Mind, while campaign group Time to Change said he “will have helped change attitudes” by sharing his experiences.
Theresa May said: “Mental health problems affect people of all ages and all backgrounds. The bravery of those in public positions who speak out about their experiences help smash the stigma around mental health and will help thousands of people to realise they are not alone.”
In January Mrs May unveiled plans to offer secondary schools “mental health first aid training” to help teachers identify pupils who need support give them counselling. She said at the time: “We know that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives, and become entrenched.”
The new proposals for the Green Paper go significantly further and suggest that qualified NHS medical health workers should be based in larger secondary schools, or provide support for networks of smaller schools.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary said that he wants NHS children and adolescent mental health services [CAMHS] to work more closely with schools. “There are big problems with the capacity in CAMHS services, but it’s not just there, but what happens in schools. Very few schools have a full-time CAMHS worker,”
What is the likelihood of NHS professionals working in schools? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin
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