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Members of DECP call for secondary schools to offer CBT to pupils

20 January 2017

Members of the Society’s Division of Educational and Child Psychology have today called for schools to offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to secondary school pupils as a more effective way of meeting their needs than providing mental health training to teachers.

Speaking in today’s Times Educational Supplement they said it was the best way to tackle the rise in mental health problems in schools and has been shown to be particularly effective in treating two of the biggest problems for today’s pupils - depression and anxiety.

Author of the recent BPS report 'Delivering Psychological Therapies in Schools and Communities' Dr Julia Hardy said:

“Depression, anxiety and self-harm are the key topics that heads bring up when asked about their concerns. The evidence base for CBT shows it’s particularly useful for anxiety and depression.”

Responding to the recent government aim to train a single teacher in each secondary school to provide mental health first aid the Vivian Hill, Chair of DECP, said:

“The government has a workforce of educational psychologists: these professionals are already in existence. The government should look at the systems already in place and think about how to enhance them, rather than coming up with a political sound bite.

It’s unreasonable to ask our already overstressed teachers to somehow magically be able to make mental health judgement calls as well. While teachers have a valid role in helping children manage issues such as bullying or exam stress, they can’t do the work of trained psychologists."

Dr Hardy and Ms Hill were interviewed at the BPS Division of Child and Educational Psychology held last week. You can download Delivering Psychological Therapies in Schools and Communities below.

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