Three children in every classroom suffer from mental health problems
According to the latest research, at least three children in every classroom have a mental health issue.
The children’s commissioner questioned whether the Government and the NHS were facing up to the ongoing issue of schools not being provided professional mental health support for their pupils.
Despite this, a poll conducted by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) in 2019 shows that more schools have developed an improved understanding and recognition of their pupils’ mental health needs. Out of all the schools who took part in this survey:
- 79 per cent have a whole-school approach to positive mental health
- 78 per cent have designated staff members for mental wellbeing
- 67 per cent have had staff complete mental health training
- 66 per cent hired professionals – as not having prompt access to NHS services continues to be an issue (up from 36 per cent in 2016)
- 66 per cent state their pupils feel confident to talk to staff about their mental wellbeing
- 44 per cent thought their staff would feel confident in dealing with pupils suffering a mental health crisis
- Four per cent of school leaders agreed that child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) responded quickly to requests for support
Despite this, a number of schools still do not have access to NHS expert services. The NAHT general secretary states that ‘when children do have more serious mental health needs, professional help is not easily available. Teachers are on the frontline for children’s mental health, but they are not qualified, medical specialists’.
The importance of implementing these support systems is also acknowledged:
- Early intervention is critical
- In the event of more serious cases, teachers need to be able to quickly refer their pupils to professionals who can provide expert and timely support.
- All schools must welcome this increased understanding of children’s needs.
The number of children receiving specialist treatment varies across parts of England. A children’s mental health report reveals:
- 90 per cent of children who are referred to mental health services receive the treatment, in four well-served areas.
- Less than half of referrals result in a child receiving treatment, elsewhere in the country.
- In some areas, families face spending 10 times more than others on their children’s mental health care.