Startling figures surrounding mental health concerns in schools have been a growing problem within the education industry. Reports of children waiting up to two years for support from over-subscribed professionals have led to scathing attacks on the plans, or lack of them, currently in place.
On Sunday, the government announced they “are delivering on our commitment [to support mental health in schools] and launching a new £300 million plan to improve support for children and young people’s mental health.”
The plans are set to provide mental health awareness training for school staff, with the subject integrated into PSHE lessons. New mental health service teams are also likely to be introduced to directly work with schools, allowing ‘earlier’ access to such support. The BBC reported, “it is hoped around one in four schools in England will have this provision in place by 2022.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt explained to the BBC, “around half of all mental illness starts before the age of 14, so it is vital children get support as soon as they need it – in the classroom. If we catch mental ill health early we can treat it and stop it turning into something more serious.”
Whilst the new plans have been gratefully accepted by many health and education professionals, the fine print of the project has been criticised by those closely associated with children battling against mental health illnesses. The new initiatives will be trialled first in specific areas to assess their effectiveness before being holistically rolled out to the rest of the country…in several years time.
For those young people crying out for support in the here and now, the plans could be a case of too little, too late. However, there is an alternative. Evolve have been deploying specialist Health Mentors in schools across the country to support both mental and physical health and wellbeing.
If you would like to find out more about how Health Mentor can support vulnerable children in your setting, contact Josh on email@example.com.