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Young people need more mental health support in school

Thursday 22nd June 2017
Children and adolescents need access to improved mental health support at school, a new report highlights. Image: DGLimages via iStock
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More mental health support is needed in UK schools for young people, a new report has warned.
 
Thinktank Localis has published findings that show a significant number of teachers and public service professionals throughout the country have not received any training or guidance in helping young people with their mental health concerns, which means many are not referred for the support they need.
 
As a result, hundreds of thousands of young people are referred directly to specialists, who are becoming overburdened with patients, potentially compromising their ability to provide the best possible standard of care.
 
The UK government has recently allocated £1.4 billion to improving child and adolescent mental health services across the country, but Localis warns there will still be over 555,000 young people who require mental health care not receiving it by 2020-21, which could have an adverse impact on their long-term health.
 
Localis' report comes just as the NSPCC released its own new research showing that the number of calls the charity has received from children relating to emotional abuse has risen from 3,341 in 2009-10 to more than 10,000 this year. This significant rise demonstrates the extent to which the need for mental health support for children and adolescents is increasing.
 
Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive of Localis, explained: "The system is bedevilled by months-long waiting lists, because it fails to differentiate between young people in crisis and those close to it.
 
"A challenge of this scale demands fundamental reform at both local and national level, to ensure our mental health system for young people quickly provides help for those in crisis and offers support at an earlier stage to those who feel they need it."
 
In the Queen's Speech this week, the UK government announced that it will be working to reform mental health legislation and make sure it is prioritised more across the NHS, which may lead to more opportunities for support workers throughout the health service, as well as in schools.
 
Written by Angela Newbury
 
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