The government says that one in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health disorder –that is around 3 children in every classroom. Improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is one of this Government’s key priorities as part of the drive to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health.
In oral questions, on 26 October, the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan mentioned the £1.5 million” we are contributing to a pilot for single points of contact between schools and specialist mental health services. That pilot will run in 250 schools, with training starting later this term. I should also like to mention that this year, for the first time, the Department for Education included just under £5 million in our voluntary and community sector grants for organisations such as Mind and Place2Be and for putting new resources for parents on the MindEd website.”
The Government, overall, has committed £1.25 billion to be invested specifically in young people’s mental health over the next 5 years. It says ‘ This money will transform local services so that every organisation involved with caring for children and young people works together to support them with their mental health, not just the National Health Service (NHS).’
Junior Education Minister Sam Gyimah added later, in response to an oral question, “Good mental health and attainment are different sides of the same coin, which is why the Secretary of State appointed me as the first Education Minister with responsibility for mental health in schools. We are taking a number of steps, working with partners, to improve the mental health of young people.”
Conservative MP, Graham Evans, asked how the Government is ensuring that teachers have access to appropriate materials to teach pupils about mental health in an age-appropriate way “so that we can break through this stigma”
Gyimah said “I am glad my hon. Friend has asked that question. We have been working with the PSHE Association to develop age-appropriate lesson plans, as well as improving counselling and guidance, so that teachers know how to teach about mental health and deal with the range of issues they come across in young people.”
Sam Gyimah is working closely on this with Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care at the Department of Health. Officials from DfE and Department of Health are working together on a programme of work.
Natasha Devon a writer, TV pundit and founder of the Self-Esteem Team www.selfesteemteam.org ,in August 2015, became the Department for Education’s (DfE) first ever mental health champion for schools and is tasked with helping to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around young people’s mental health.
Action plan to tackle mental health stigma in schools-March 2015
The PSHE Association has launched new guidance and primary and secondary lesson plans for schools on preparing to teach about mental health and emotional wellbeing. The document has been produced under a grant from the Department for Education.