Schools struggling to support children with mental health problems

One in 10 children between five and 16 years old suffer with depression, anxiety or conduct disorder, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

But more than half of UK schools are struggling to support them, a new study found.

Theresa May recently announced that schools will receive mental health training, but this doesn’t apply to primary schools.

And researchers found more than 50% of all cases involving youths begin before the age of 14.

Exams, relationships, and social media are some of the challenges pupil’s face.

Curwen Primary in east London has a counselling service to help children experiencing these problems.

Paul Harris, executive head teacher told Channel 4 News: ‘We have children who are facing homelessness, seeing things they shouldn’t have seen, using social media has opened up a whole new world to them.

‘We’ve also got children who are really concerned regarding things like Brexit and things that are in the media.’

Pupil Maggie Fagbohun said: ‘I don’t like it when adults say you can’t be stressed you’re too young. A lot of things are happening like tests and it can get stressful and overwhelming.’

The study by mental health charity, Place2Be, found that one in three children in a classroom will have a mental health condition.

But 97% of teachers told researchers mental health among pupils was still underestimated.

And just two in five felt confident that their staff would know what to do in a mental health crisis.

NHS England estimated that poor mental health costs the UK £105 billion a year.

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said: ‘Our evidence shows that making support accessible to children from a young age can have a hugely beneficial impact on their wellbeing, and also reduces the burden on teachers so they can focus on learning. Both primary and secondary schools need to be able to access this support.’

What else did the study find?

More than half (56%) of school leaders say it is difficult to find mental health services for pupils.

More than one in five (22%) who attempt to find support are unsuccessful.

93% say that pupils bring more worries into school than they did five years ago.

The most common barriers when seeking support at schools were down to a lack of capacity in services (36%), lack of local services (31%) and budget constraints (28%).
Source – Written by Simon Robb, featured in The Metro –