The prime minister Theresa May has announced free teacher mental health training, in every secondary school in England, Schools Week reports.
Speaking at the Charity Commission earlier this week, Theresa May said a new approach to tackling mental health problems would begin to ensure children and young people “got the help and support the need and deserve”.
The government has said that teacher mental health training will be offered by Mental Health First Aid UK, to teachers and other staff in a third of secondary schools this year alone.
The remaining schools will see teacher mental health training implemented within the following two years.
The government says it wants this approach to better train teachers in spotting the early sings of mental health problems in pupils.
May was quoted as saying:
“[Mental health services should not] start in out hospital, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities.
This starts with ensuring that children and young people get the help and support they need and deserve – because we know that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives, and become entrenched.”
Writing in The Times this week, the education secretary Justine Greening said the government also wanted to see schools get “the best support” from their local mental health services, “so children needing help can get the right treatment as quickly as possible”. She wrote:
“This will be backed up by our health and education watchdogs, the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted.”
The mental health training for teachers will also include new trial schemes to strengthen links between schools and local NHS mental health staff.
Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, has welcomed the focus on children’s mental wellbeing, but said it would “fall short” without proper funding, especially in the face of cuts to school budgets.
“Just as we are becoming more aware of children’s mental health issues the resources are being taken away.
School budgets are being cut by £3 billion so it will become increasingly difficult to fund in-school care for children unless these cuts are reversed immediately.”