Press Release: Children’s workforce lacks training in mental health, says YoungMinds

Press Release: Children’s workforce lacks training in mental health, says YoungMinds

In response to the Governments independent review of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) YoungMinds, the children’s mental health charity highlights a serious lack of skilled workers to treat the one in 10 children suffering severe mental health problems. As a result CAMHS provide inadequate services particularly to children with learning difficulties and older teenagers.

Mental health should not be left to overloaded specialists. All professionals working with children should be trained so they have the expertise to pick-up problems as they arise. At a recent YoungMinds conference over 80% of 7-13 year olds said they would go to their teachers for help and support if they had a problem, rather than a health professional.

Julia Mason, Deputy Chief Executive of YoungMinds said: “We are not calling for everyone to become a therapist but to simply understand the role they can play in spotting mental health problems at an early stage. It’s key that young people have someone they can turn to who they can trust and knows how to support them.

“YoungMinds is pressing for all people who work with children to have some training on mental health as part of their core professional development. Teachers, youth workers and heath visitors should be trained to support children in distress, understand normal child development and know when and how to refer children to specialist practitioners.

“Training for professionals who provide support in the first years of a child’s life is particularly important. The foundation of good mental health starts in these early years and is a critical stage of development.”

PEN Comment: The mental health of young people makes devasting reading and raises alarming questions for the future health of the nation. Sadly the schooling system plays an enormous part in creating ill health. Building a better educated and happier society does require us to look fundamentally at our schooling system and fix its own structural and oranizational problems. The ‘fall-out’ from schools themselves needs urgent attention: lack of control over life and learning, bullying, peer pressure, narrow and limted socialisation, isolation from community, ageist culture, enforced curriculum and testing, homework, labelling, special needs… the list goes on and on and an additional list could equally be drawn up for the staff!

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