Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Struggle to Support Students; Teachers Are Increasingly Concerned about a Rise in Poor Mental Health among Their Students

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Struggle to Support Students; Teachers Are Increasingly Concerned about a Rise in Poor Mental Health among Their Students

Article excerpt

Byline: DEBORA ARU

WORKLOADS, a lack of access to specialist services and school funding cuts mean teachers are unable to give students with mental health problems the support they need.

That's according to a new survey from the National Education Union, which claims that mental health problems in young people have hit a "crisis point", More than eight in every 10 teachers (83 per cent) across primary and secondary schools and colleges said they had noticed a change in the number of students with mental health problems in the past two years.

Just seven per cent said they had not noticed a change and the remaining 10 per cent could not be sure.

The survey also asked if teachers had the right provisions in their workplace for supporting pupils with mental health issues.

While nearly six in every 10 teachers (59 per cent) reported having learning support assistants, fewer than half (49 per cent) said their school had a counsellor available for students.

Fewer than a third (30 per cent) of teachers said there was extenal special support provisions for students with poor mental health, and just 29 per cent had a school nurse.

Barely one in every 10 teachers (12 per cent) said their school had a trained mental health first aider on site.

When asked what prevented them from fully supporting young people experiencing mental health issues, more than two-thirds of teachers (64 per cent) blamed their workload.

The same proportion of teachers also said they found it difficult to access external support services such as CAMHS or educational psychologists.

More than half of teachers (57 per cent) blamed funding cuts as preventing them from supporting their students with mental health issues.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "These are alarming reports of a growing crisis in our schools and society. …

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