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Schools and colleges to be offered mental health training

Government announces £9.3 million training scheme to link education and mental health services

Published on 16th July 2019

Up to 22,000 schools and colleges are to be offered mental health training as part of a £9.3 million programme funded by the government.

The scheme, led by The Anna Freud Centre, is designed to join up mental health and education services to support children with mental health problems.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We want to give our children and young people the best possible start in life, and providing them with mental health and wellbeing support is a vital component.

“I’m delighted this programme will bring our health and education systems even closer together, building on the progress of our existing trailblazer sites and using the expertise of our NHS to ensure children have quicker access to mental health support when they need it."

Every school, college and alternative provision will be offered training through a series of workshops as part of the Link Programme, with the most appropriate member of staff from each put forward to take part alongside mental health specialists.

The aim of the four-year programme funded by the Department for Education is to improve partnerships with professional NHS mental health services, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.

The training will start in September and will be rolled out to schools and colleges in phases over four years, being offered to up to 22,000 schools and colleges in total, including alternative provision settings.

The Link Programme will deliver just under 1,000 training sessions across England involving two whole-day workshops for up to 20 schools at a time to cover all 22,000 schools.

The first schools to be offered training are the ones already attached to Mental Health Support Teams.

One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “School and college should be a place where young people feel valued, supported and listened to – and I know that this is the case for so many thanks to the dedication of their teachers and support staff. But there are limits to what can be asked or expected of teachers - they are not, and should not, be mental health professionals.

“That’s why this new training is important, by bringing school and college staff into the same room as NHS professionals and encouraging them to work together, sharing their expertise and making sure they have the information they need so that more pupils get the right help at the right time.

“This builds on the significant measures we’ve already put in place to improve children’s wellbeing, including our new mandatory health education curriculum and the mental health first aid training being offered to schools and colleges," he concluded.

 

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