Prime Minister speaks out on mental health in schools 

09/01/2017

Today the Prime Minister announced her new approach to mental health 

Delivering the annual Charity Commission lecture today, Prime Minister Theresa May set out some of her plans to address the ‘burning injustices’ in our society and announced a package of measures on mental health support including several relating to schools.

In her speech she said:

“What I am announcing are the first steps in our plan to transform the way we deal with mental illness in this country at every stage of a person’s life: not in our hospitals, 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.”

The Prime Minister’s plans include offering every secondary school in the country mental health first aid training, and new trials to look at how to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff. There will also be a major thematic review of children and adolescent mental health services across the country, led by the Care Quality Commission and involving Ofsted, to identify what is working and what is not and a new green paper on children and young people’s mental health to set out plans to transform services in schools, universities and for families. Wider plans also include expanding treatment by investing in and expanding digital mental health services.

Place2Be Chief Executive Catherine Roche commented:

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to helping children and teenagers get the mental health support they need alongside her recognition of the positive impact we can have on future generations if we support children in our classrooms and schools across the country.

“The teacher training proposed for secondary schools alongside strengthening the links between schools and NHS specialist staff are important steps in the right direction to help our schools to be better equipped to support the emotional wellbeing of their communities. We believe it is equally important that mental health support in primary schools is also prioritised. With half of all mental health problems starting before the age of 14, intervening at the earliest opportunity is vital if we are to help children grow into resilient adults of tomorrow. We look forward to development of the Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health, continuing to contribute from Place2Be’s evidence and front-line experience of working with children, families and schools across the country and working to address this ‘burning injustice’ that has been unaddressed for too long.”

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