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Children at risk from flaws in mental health proposals

The Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) have criticised the Government’s plans for children and young people’s mental health services, calling them ‘inadequate’ and likely to result in ‘adverse consequences and failures’.

The Government’s plans, outlined in a green paper, will introduce mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges. These teams will provide direct support to children with mild to moderate mental health problems. The ACP fears that this will create more pressure and demand for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to supervise these teams, resulting in understaffing and a longer waiting time for CAMHS.

Tom Madders, our Director of Communications and Campaigns, said he shared the ACP’s concerns and backed the call for much greater investment, especially as only one in four young people who are struggling mentally receive help the NHS.

We welcome the proposals to ensure that there is specialist support in schools, but this initiative will require the support of a mental health system that’s already at breaking point. That’s why it’s important that there is increased and sustained funding for CAMHS.
Tom Madders, Director of Communciations and Campaigns

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Click below for our views on the Government’s plans for Children and young people’s mental health services:

Launch of Heads Together ‘Mentally Healthy’ schools scheme

The Heads Together campaign, coordinated by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, have launched a website aimed to supply mental health resources for schools. ‘Mentally Healthy’ will give teachers easy access to information and resources on an array of mental health issues. It is currently being piloted and will be rolled out nationwide in the spring. To mark the launch, The Duchess of Cambridge visited a London primary school where she spoke on the benefits of the website for teachers:

Teachers want to help, but you don’t have the time to go hunting for the best information and advice out there. You need resources you can trust. And you need to have access to them at all times. This is what this pilot is all about.
Duchess of Cambridge

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For more resources and advice on supporting the mental health of your students, check out YoungMinds 360° Schools.

Rise in primary school children self-harming

At least 500 primary school children have reported that they self-harm to Tappy Twins, a non-profit social enterprise that sends counsellors into 50 nurseries and school. Similarly, new data from NHS Digital suggests that the number of nursery and primary school pupils who self-harm is rising rapidly.

Tom Madders, our Director of Communications and Campaigns, says:“Far more needs to be done to get support into schools so that children’s wellbeing can be treated as a priority across the education system.”

Even at a young age children face a huge range of pressures, including school stress, bullying, worrying about body image and a lack of access to help if they’re struggling to cope. Difficult experiences at home – including domestic violence, neglect or bereavement – can also have a serious impact.
Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns

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For information on how to respond to self-harm, watch our Parent Helpline advisers answer questions on the topic in our Parents Lounge video:

MP’s concerns over teachers’ mental health responsibilities

A former headteacher, now MP, has expressed concerns that extra demands will be put on teachers when the Government’s new plans for mental health come into play. The new plans encourage every school to appoint a teacher as a senior lead on mental health and receive mental health awareness training. Thelma Walker MP, who sits on the House of Commons Education Select Committee, has warned that teachers are at risk of being overburdened by this new pressure.

Tom Madders, our Director of Communications and Campaigns, says that many teachers are already finding ways to promote good mental health among their students.

“Teachers should never be seen as a substitute for mental health services. But from the work we do in schools across the country, we know what a crucial role they can play in building resilience, and identifying problems when they first emerge."

We welcome the government’s recognition that schools have a fundamental role to play, but this must be underpinned by enough resource to provide real support in the classroom.
Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns

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If you’re a teacher, we know how important the wellbeing of your students is to you. But it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why our 360° Schools programme helps you to put wellbeing at the heart of your schools’ improvement.

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