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44% of UK schools dont know how to support pupils mental health

Monday 19th February 2018
More support is needed to ensure UK schools are able to provide the best possible mental health care to students, according to a new report. Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
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UK schools need to have greater access to mental health support for their pupils, a new report highlights.

According to research carried out by children's mental health charity Place2Be, 45 per cent of school leaders in the country believe this is a problem at present.

Almost half (44 per cent) of headteachers said they were prevented from providing their students with the best support because they had no resources available to identify the most appropriate type of help to seek.

This support shortfall has resulted in 37 per cent of schools not feeling confident enough to seek help from a trained counsellor or therapist, meaning pupils could be left struggling with worsening mental health symptoms.

But where support is available, those providing it face challenges too; Place2Be also surveyed 1,198 counsellors and psychotherapists and more than one-third (34 per cent) said they found it challenging to deliver mental health support in a school setting.

With both teachers and mental health workers unsure of the best approach to take to protect young children's wellbeing, campaigners are calling for more investment in training and resources from the government in order to make sure the best possible standard of support is always at hand for pupils and their parents and carers.

Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, commented: "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, family and staff."

However, this isn't quite happening across the board just yet, but the  Department for Education has responded by highlighting the fact that the government's green paper on children and young people's mental health includes measures designed to resolve the current shortfall in support.

A spokeswoman for the government department explained that these include "improving the links between the NHS and schools, speeding up access to more intensive support, as well as boosting capacity to ensure early intervention".

Written by Angela Newbury

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