CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: MENTAL ILLNESS

7th November 2017

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to improve the capacity of schools and colleges to support children and young persons who are experiencing mental illness.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, Minister for Equalities: Good mental health is a priority for the Government. On 9 January, the Prime Minister committed to a range of activity to improve the lives of children including the publication of a Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper by the end of this year.

We are working with the Department of Health to ensure Mental Health First Aid training is available to all secondary schools, with the aim of having trained at least one teacher in every secondary school by 2019. Funding is split between the Department of Health and Mental Health First Aid England. By the end of this year, 1000 places will be delivered across 100 courses, with one representative from each school per course. The scheme will extend in 2018 and 2019 to cover every secondary school in England.

Many secondary and an increasing number of primary schools provide pupils with access to counselling support. In order to provide schools with the help they need to deliver this provision effectively, the Department published a blueprint for school counselling services. Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

The Government recognises that teachers are not mental health professionals. Where more serious problems occur, it is expected that pupils should receive additional support from, amongst others, professionals working in specialist Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS), voluntary organisations and local GP practices. The Department is extending its pilot to identify points of contact for mental health in schools and NHS CYPMHS to up to 1200 more schools and colleges in 20 additional Clinical Commissioning Group areas.

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