1. ITV Report

Teachers trained to spot mental health issues

The Government’s pledge to transform mental health services for young people has taken an important step forward with teachers and staff across the country starting training to identify and respond to early signs of mental health problems among pupils. Delivered by the social enterprise organisation Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, the training was originally announced by the Prime Minister in January as part of a series of measures to address the “hidden injustice” of poor mental health across society. Around one in 10 children are believed to have a diagnosable mental health disorder, with half of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 14, making it vital that children with early symptoms receive the support they need. However, research by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) found that 98% of teachers had come into contact with pupils who were experiencing mental health issues, but only 46% reported receiving training on children’s mental health. The programme, backed by £200,000 in Government funding, will start with 3,000 staff covering every secondary school in England over the next three years and will be extended to primary schools by the end of this Parliament. They will receive practical advice on how to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, suicide and psychosis, self-harm, and eating disorders. Participants in the training programme will be invited to become a Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion, and will help to share their knowledge and understanding of mental health across the school and wider community. It is hoped that this will mean more young people will get fast and appropriate support for emerging mental health problems, and that all children will receive the highest quality pastoral care through their adolescence. Schools taking part in the scheme:

  • Broadland High School, Hoveton in Norfolk
  • Patcham High School, Brighton in East Sussex
  • King’s Leadership Academy, Liverpool in Merseyside
  • Blessed William Howard Catholic School, Stafford in Staffordshire
  • Ormiston Endeavour Academy, Suffolk in Ipswich
  • Shirebrook Academy, Shirebrook in Derbyshire
  • Bristol Metropolitan Academy, Bristol
  • Oasis Academy – Shirley Park, Croydon
  • Orchard School, Bristol
  • Haberdasher's Aske's College, Lewisham
The Primi Minister says the training will make a real difference to children's lives Credit: ITV

When I stood on the steps of Downing Street on my first day as Prime Minister, I said that the disparity in mental health services was one of the burning injustices our country faces. Since then we have announced real progress in tackling this unfairness, and this training will make a real difference to children’s lives by ensuring they have access to sensitive and swift support. Tackling poor mental health is a huge challenge, and we will keep our promises and meet that challenge with the comprehensive cross-society response that is required.

– Prime Minister Theresa May