29 June 2017
The British Psychological Society believes a new training programme for teachers in secondary schools is not an adequate response to the mental health crisis in our schools.
The Society believes that better integration of mental and physical health at primary care level is the way to reduce stigma, foster community supports, build assets and contribute to the prevention of mental health problems.
It believes the government should work with stakeholders to shape an ambitious strategy for resilient, confident, and socially and emotionally literate children.
Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, said:
"There is a pressing need for increased investment in whole-school approaches to supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. Providing teachers with training in mental health first aid is a welcome first step but alone will not address the scale of need.
The Society calls on the government to roll out programmes in schools to promote wellbeing and help children and young people build resilience, connectedness and social capital.
It should develop seamless pathways between schools and children and young people's mental health services, and address the lack of specialist mental health provision for children and young people in inpatient services near where they live, including forensic institutions."
You can read more about Nicola Gale's views on psychologically informed policies for our children and young people in her recent blog post on this site.
Under the new training programme, backed in the first year by £200,000 in government funding, and delivered by the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid, teachers will receive advice on how to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, suicide and psychosis, self-harm and eating disorders.
They will also be invited to become "first aid champions", sharing their knowledge and experiences across schools and communities to raise awareness and break down stigma and discrimination.