Commenting on today’s statement from the Prime Minister on improving mental health support for children and young people in schools, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“The NASUWT welcomes the Prime Minister’s recognition that much more needs to be done to support children and young people’s mental health.
“Action to help prevent children and young people from developing mental health problems and effective, timely care for those already experiencing these problems is vital.
“Often teachers can be the first to spot signs of mental distress among their pupils and schools do have an important role to play in improving provision and support for children and young people.
“However, schools cannot address this issue alone and cuts to budgets and services in local authorities, health and education have all taken a heavy toll on the support available to children suffering mental health issues.
“Collaboration between schools and opportunities to develop effective joint working between schools and other agencies needs to be recognised by the Government as a key priority in meeting the mental health needs of all children and young people.
“The Prime Minister must also take urgent steps to tackle the excessive workload demands already placed on teachers, including as a result of job cuts, in order that schools have the capacity to meet pupils’ mental health needs.
“The step-change that is needed in relation to children’s mental health will not be possible without recognition from Government that schools and other services need the time, resources and funding which ensure that no child has their life blighted by mental ill health.”