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Mental health should be taught in schools, says Youth Commission

Friday 31st May 2019
Scotland’s first Youth Commission on Mental Health has said there needs to be a major change in the way young people are supported with their mental health.
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Around 16 months ago, Scotland’s first Youth Commission on Mental Health began providing recommendations for the improvement of  mental health services throughout the country. The group has now published its first report, in which it sets out major changes it believes need to be made.

In coming up with these recommendations, the Youth Commission - made up of 23 young people aged 15-25 from across Scotland - spoke to more than 120 young people and 100 stakeholders and organisations from a range of different sectors. In total, the report represents 2,200 hours of work, all of which was done on a voluntary basis.

Perhaps the most major recommendation the group has set out is to improve person-centered support in mental health services. Young people do not feel in control of the treatment they have access to, with too little choice. Appointments are often too short or too long for the needs of the young people accessing them, and more personalised care was listed as a clear requirement.

In schools, the primary recommendation was to embed mental health into the curriculum from an early age. This would improve knowledge and awareness surrounding mental health, while also reducing the stigma that often comes with it.

The Youth Commission stated every school in Scotland should be able to access mental health training for all educational staff, as well as counsellors and support workers wherever necessary. In addition, the group recommended schools create mental health crisis protocols, designed alongside young people.

Clare Haughey, Scotland’s minister for mental health, said: “I’d like to thank the Youth Commission for their comprehensive report looking at how we can work together to improve mental health services for children and young people across Scotland. We will carefully consider how we can take the Youth Commission’s recommendations forward, and we will give you a full response in the coming months.”

Written by Angela Newbury

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