NASUWT: Action to prevent mental health problems is ‘vital’

Posted On: 
9th January 2017

The largest teachers union has welcomed a major speech from the Prime Minister on tackling mental health problems.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of the Charity Commision for England and Wales at The Royal Society where she detailed plans to provide greater support for those suffering mental health problems.
Credit: 
PA

Cuts to budgets and services in local authorities, health and education have all taken a heavy toll on the support available to children suffering mental health issues, the largest teachers’ union in the UK has said, as they welcomed  the Prime Minister’s recognition that much more needs to be done to support children and young people’s mental health.

Theresa May today made a speech setting out a range of measures focusing on schools, employers and local communities, geared towards helping create what she calls "the shared society".

The Government calculates that one in four Britons experiences a mental health problem at some point, with the cumulative cost amounting to over £100bn a year - roughly the same as the entire NHS budget.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said action to prevent children and young people developing mental health problems is “vital”.

“Often teachers can be the first to spot signs of mental distress among their pupils and schools do have an important role to play in improving provision and support for children and young people.

“However, schools cannot address this issue alone and cuts to budgets and services in local authorities, health and education have all taken a heavy toll on the support available to children suffering mental health issues.

“Collaboration between schools and opportunities to develop effective joint working between schools and other agencies needs to be recognised by the Government as a key priority in meeting the mental health needs of all children and young people.

She added: “The Prime Minister must also take urgent steps to tackle the excessive workload demands already placed on teachers, including as a result of job cuts, in order that schools have the capacity to meet pupils’ mental health needs.

“The step-change that is needed in relation to children’s mental health will not be possible without recognition from Government that schools and other services need the time, resources and funding which ensure that no child has their life blighted by mental ill health.”