A growing number of teenagers say they struggle with their mental health upon starting secondary school but are not confident that their teachers can help them, the Guardian reports.
New research shows that four in five 12 to 16 year olds report feeling as though they had mental health problems, but just one in 20 would ask a teacher for help if they felt depressed, anxious, stressed or emotionally unable to cope.
The poll of 500 secondary school pupils was conducted by stem4, a teenage mental health charity. It comes as MPs were recently warned that schools’ ability to identify and prevent mental health problems in pupils was ‘patchy’.
The parliamentary health and education committees were told this month that while all schools intended to provide mental health support for students, only around 50 percent provide counselling, and were funding such efforts. In many cases, services were made available once a week, or even less.
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister Theresa May announced that all secondary schools in England are to be offered mental health first aid training to teaching staff.
However, another survey found that most teenagers want easy access to mental health professionals, rather than receiving short-term help from their teachers, who have little or no training.
The survey found that only 33p percent of young people think the prime minister’s plan is a good idea, and 36% say the initiative is “woefully inadequate” because one teacher in a school of over 1,000 would make no difference.
Nihara Krause, a consultant clinical psychologist and founder of stem4, said:
“More and more young people are now willing to admit that they struggle to cope emotionally with the challenges of daily life, which are posing much greater levels of stress.
High levels of stress, if not dealt with at an early stage, are likely to lead to more serious problems in later life. We’ve known for a long time that young people’s health services are at crisis point, barely dealing with moderate to severe psychological problems.
Young people need better access to early interventions provided by properly trained mental health professionals who can either deal with these problems directly or make referrals to appropriate secondary services.”