A Green Paper is being launched by Justine Greening (Education Secretary) and Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary) to deal with the widely reported crisis in young people’s mental health.
Children suffering from anxiety and depression will be offered counselling at schools under new government plans. Pupils in England will be able to attend sessions with therapists at school or college in an attempt to stop any psychological difficulties deepening into life long issues.
Every school will also be required to appoint a teacher to co-ordinate improved support for the fast growing number of children who are struggling mentally, many self-harming as a result of bullying, exam stress, dissatisfaction with their body shape, troubles at home and other factors.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of the charity YoungMinds, welcomed the plans. “Too often we hear from young people who have started to self-harm, become suicidal or dropped out of school while waiting for the right help,” she said.
Sarah Wollaston MP
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee, welcomed the announcement but said she was keen to see more details. “We need to have a much greater focus on early intervention and prevention. Any money going into that is a good thing,” she said.
Barbara Keeley, Labour’s shadow cabinet minister for mental health, said, “The plans left many unanswered questions, including over funding and whether every school would be able to help every pupil who needed it. The Tories’ record on children and young people’s health has been shocking.”