Welsh schoolchildren to receive early help with mental health problems
Children with emotional and mental health problems are to receive early help at school from teams of experts as part of a “unique” initiative being set up by the Welsh government. Pupils at more than 200 schools in Wales will be able to access on-site help as part of the £1.4m pilot scheme.
The Welsh government’s announcement comes as concern grows about the ability of schools to look after children with mental health problems. Research published last week found that more than half of primary school teachers in England do not feel adequately trained to support pupils with mental health problems.
NHS data for England gathered by the Guardian showed girls and young women are experiencing a “gathering crisis” in their mental health linked to conflict with friends, fears about their body image and pressures created by social media.
The Welsh government said on Monday that its scheme was unique in the UK. It will cover 28 secondary schools, six middle schools and 190 primary schools in three pilot areas in north-east, south-east and west Wales.
Dedicated child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) practitioners will be recruited to work with pilot schools.
The practitioners will provide teachers with on-site help and advice to try to ensure pupils experiencing difficulties such as anxiety, low mood and compulsive self-harm or conduct disorders receive early help in schools from trained staff. It is not known yet how many staff will be recruited.
The Welsh health secretary, Vaughan Gething, said: “One in four people in Wales will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. Getting the right treatment at an early stage can in many cases prevent long-term adverse impacts.
Imagine if the NZ Government had the same sort of commitment?