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Place2Be welcomes new report on children’s mental health 


Place2Be CEO Catherine Roche comments on the joint Health and Education Committees' report on children and young people’s mental health and the role of education.

This week, the joint Health and Education Committees published their report on children and young people’s mental health and the role of education.

The report highlights the urgent need to improve mental health services and the important role that schools play. It says:

“Schools and colleges have a front line role in promoting and protecting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Education and mental health services need to work closely together to plan the most effective way of improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“We support a whole school approach that embeds the promotion of wellbeing throughout the culture of the school and curriculum as well as in staff training and continuing professional development.”

We welcome this report on children's mental health and strongly support its call for children's wellbeing and mental health support in schools to be prioritised and adequately funded. The report's findings echo what schools are telling us - that they need the support of mental health professionals, working alongside teachers, to equip their pupils with the skills to cope with mental ill health.

The cross party group of MPs found that an increasing number of schools are having to cut back on mental health provision - such as counselling services - despite an increase in the prevalence of mental ill health among pupils.

Catherine Roche, CEO at Place2Be, commented:

"We know from our direct experience of working in schools that children as young as four or five can be deeply affected by the pressures and difficulties of life today. That's why supporting children with their mental health early in their lives is so important.  As the report recognises, school has a very important role to play and for support to be successful it needs to be embedded throughout the whole school community - this includes teachers, staff and parents, not just pupils.

Some of the schools we work with have described the current financial situation as a ‘perfect storm’. It is a real day-to-day struggle for some and Head Teachers are having to make very difficult decisions about how they spend their budgets. We are working closely with all our partner schools to find flexible and creative solutions to support them and their pupils, alongside our corporate and voluntary partners.

With public interest and support at an all-time high, we hope that the next government will prioritise funding for children's mental wellbeing in schools - enabling children to flourish into adults who are able to manage their mental health, cope with life's problems and engage fully in society.”

Place2Be calls on the next government to: 

  • Recognise the equal importance of children's mental health alongside their physical health and ensure equality of funding.
  • Recognise the social and economic benefits of preventing mental health issues in childhood which reduces the need for mental health and other services later in life.  
  • Dedicate funding to support a specialist mental health expert in every primary and secondary school in the country - to support a 'whole-school' approach to understanding and addressing children's mental health needs.
  • Include mental health education in Teacher Training and give support to existing teachers on understanding the mental health needs of young people.
  • Ensure that children's mental health is seen as the joint responsibility of both Education and Health services and recognise the need to work together to prioritise early intervention and prevention - so that this is not just seen as a school responsibility. 
  • Invest in recruiting and developing the mental health professionals of tomorrow to ensure a supply of skilled counsellors and mental health experts able to support children and young people in schools. 


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