67% of head teachers across England have said they are concerned about the growing number of children in their schools who suffer from some form of mental health condition. The figure is in stark contrast to a similar survey carried out last year, which found only 14% of heads to be concerned about the same issue.
Mental health conditions within children are now more prevalent than ever before, with head teachers attributing some of the cause to the growing number of pressures children are now having to face on a daily basis. They say children are concerned about getting good GCSE results, but also worry about taking out a student loan to go to university and the associated debts.
A survey carried out by The Key of 1000 headteachers, found that bullying, domestic violence, drugs and obesity were just some of the issues appearing within their top 10 concerns. This, coupled with the recent reduction in mental health services, is causing even greater concern for heads.
The percentage of headteachers concerned about the following issues across primary and secondary school sectors are as follows:
Domestic Violence – Primary: 70% Secondary: 47%
Cyber-bullying – Primary: 59% Secondary: 74%
Obesity – Primary: 42%
Sexting – Secondary: 61%
Drugs – 55%
The growing number of children with mental health conditions means more teachers now feel they require specialist skills and knowledge to help pupils deal with these conditions to ensure they achieve their full potential at school. However, there is neither the resource nor funds in place to currently support it.
“From our direct experience, there is no doubt that when pupils receive expert emotional support, they are better able to concentrate and achieve and overall disruption in the classroom is reduced, which benefits everyone.”
What Support Is Currently Available?
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health or want some help and advice about a child you know, the NHS has a specialist mental health service for children and young people. Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provides a YoungMinds Parents’ helpline and online support service so those with worries or concerns can talk to someone. If you are looking for face to face family support or a mental health assessment, a local CAMHS service is available through referral by your GP or school.
To find out more about CAMHS services, or if you are having problems accessing local mental health services you can call the free helpline on 0808 802 5544 from Monday to Friday, between 9:30am-4pm. Alternatively you can email the YoungMinds Parents Helpline by filling out the online contact form and selecting ‘Parents Helpline’ from the list.