17 June 2019
If Theresa May’s ambition to improve the psychological wellbeing of children is to become a reality then government must concentrate on prevention and early intervention, says the British Psychological Society.
Responding to announcements today that every new teacher in England will be trained in how to spot the early warning signs of mental health conditions, Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive of the BPS, said;
“Today’s announcement is definitely a step in the right direction, but it must go hand in hand with a rapid increase in provision of services for children and young people so that teachers can refer children and their families to the right support from psychological professionals.
With waiting lists for child and adolescent mental health services as long as 18 months in some parts of the UK, investment in services and the psychological workforce has to be a priority.
We know that the key to promoting healthy psychological development in children is prevention and early intervention. That means working with children, families, schools and communities to address the underlying psychological and social causes of mental health conditions. Increasing awareness among teachers is to be welcomed, but it must be coupled with specialist support for pupils so that we do not place extra responsibilities on teaching staff, who are already under considerable pressure.
We are also eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new role of Education and Mental Health Practitioners, who are currently in training, as they will be providing interventions for children and young people and hopefully relieving pressure on teachers and improving provision for children.”