Head teachers say more young people are suffering mental health issues
More young people are suffering from mental health issues but the care on offer outside schools is not keeping pace, say head teachers.
In total, 55% of 338 school leaders surveyed by the Association of School and College Leaders reported a large rise in pupils with anxiety and stress.
Almost 65% said they struggled to get mental health services for pupils.
The government said it was investing £1.4bn on children’s mental health services in England.
The survey, launched at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham, found that over the past five years:
79% of heads saw an increase in self harm or suicidal thoughts among students.
40% reported a big rise in cyber-bullying
53% of those who had referred a pupil to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) rated them poor or very poor.
Overall, 80% of respondents wanted to see CAMHS expanded in their area. According to the report, carried out by ASCL alongside the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), most schools offer on-site support to students – for example, counselling and educational psychology sessions. The problems arise when students needs extra support, says the report. ‘Serious gap’
On Saturday ASCL’s interim general secretary, Malcolm Trobe, will tell the conference of “a serious gap in mental health provision beyond the school gates”.
“The fact is that children today face an extraordinary range of pressures.
“They live in a world of enormously high expectations, where new technologies present totally new challenges such as cyber-bullying,” Mr Trobe is expected to say. “There has seldom been a time when specialist mental health care is so badly needed and yet it often appears to be the poor relation of the health service.
“Its importance cannot be over-emphasised.”