At SCHOOLS NorthEast’s inaugural Healthy MindED Conference last week, delegates told us what the government needs to do to improve mental health and wellbeing in schools.
Here are 5 things that schools would like to see the government do:
Schools have identified many different ways in which increased funding could help them deal better with the emotional and mental health needs of their pupils. Not only do schools need more money to provide support to children and young people – perhaps by funding dedicated staff – CAMHS and other services (e.g. social services) that sit around schools also need sufficient funding.
Schools are keen to help when their pupils encounter mental health difficulties but do not always feel that they have the appropriate expertise. More training would be welcome, but so too would increased funding to access existing training.
3. Access to services
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting times are far too long in many parts of our region and it is clear that many services are massively over capacity. The Government needs to invest more in CAMHS to ensure that children and young people can access the services that they need when they need them. More also needs to be done to build links and understanding between CAMHS and schools.
4. A better balance between attainment and well-being
Some school leaders feel that the focus on academic attainment – whilst undoubtedly important – can have a detrimental impact on pupil mental health. There are a range of things that the government could do to rebalance this and put a greater priority on mental health and emotional well-being.
5. Reduce pressure on schools
School accountability measures are putting a great deal of pressure on schools and school staff. Unfortunately this pressure is often passed on to pupils and does not create an environment that is conducive to positive mental health.