Charity calls for clarity in mental health support at schools

New research has revealed that schools struggle to understand what type of mental health support is needed for pupils.

Charity Place2be, which published the report, found that just under half (45 per cent) of school leaders found it difficult to commission mental health support for their students.

Likewise, more than a third (34 per cent) of counsellors and psychotherapists who work with children and young people said it was difficult to provide their services to schools.

The charity is working in partnership with NAHT, BACP and UKCP.

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.

“Our evidence and experience shows that embedding skilled mental health professionals in schools, as part of a whole school approach, can have an enormously positive impact for pupils, families and staff. It’s encouraging that the Government’s green paper proposals have recognised this, but to really transform children’s mental health provision, we need all schools to have access to dedicated funding, support and training to be able to source, commission and evaluate services effectively.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union, NAHT, added “Schools have always been on the front line with children’s mental health because school is often where issues first become apparent. This is why a significant number of schools choose to commission counsellors and psychotherapists themselves. However, school leaders are not experts in therapeutic interventions so it can be difficult to know what kind of support is needed. NAHT has continually argued for a more rounded approach, to take some of the emphasis away from schools and re-assert the importance of well-resourced and accessible local support services.”

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