CLASS ROOMCRISIS; While England Debates a New Kind of School, Here in Scotland a New Report Gives a Stark Warning about Mental Health

The Mirror (London, England), October 27, 2005 | Go to article overview

CLASS ROOMCRISIS; While England Debates a New Kind of School, Here in Scotland a New Report Gives a Stark Warning about Mental Health


Byline: By BEN ROSECROFT

T HREE pupils in every classroom in Scotland have a recognised mental health problem.

Children as young as five are suffering from illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

And while experts warn a shortage of psychiatrists and support staff is damaging the lives of vulnerable children in Scotland, there are also 17,000 kids in the UK who care for parents with a mental illness.

But now there is help for parents and children who are living with the day-to-day burden of mental health problems .

Lewis Macdonald, Scotland's Deputy Health Minister, launched a national campaign to improve services for young people this week.

He wants to make life easier for those suffering mental health problems.

To do this the Scottish Executive has pledged pounds 1million to ensure that the agencies responsible for caring for those with mental health problems have a more joined-up approach.

By working together to help end the stigma associated with mental health, Mr MacDonald hopes Scotland's interested parties can work to prevent suicides and build a brighter future for children in Scotland.

He said: "We are committed to improving the health of our nation.

"We know this cannot be achieved simply by improving physical health, which is why improving mental health is a priority for us.

"We must ensure consistent, high-quality care and support for those children and young people experiencing mental health problems, wherever they live."

The good news is that there are plenty of innovative projects underway to help support children.

There is also support for the one in four adults who are worried about their kids, and some of Scotland's top musicians have come together to help too.

Bands including Snow Patrol, Belle and Sebastian, Sons and Daughters and Mogwai have donated their music to a free CD which promotes the issue for young people.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) produced the CD - titled One In Four - and is organising free concerts to encourage Scots youngsters to be more open about how they feel.

They have already handed out 100,000 free copies of the disc to children all over Scotland.

Shona Neil, SAMH chief executive, explains: "Music provides an excellent vehicle for bringing mental health issues into the realm of public debate. …

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