Commenting on the Government’s pledge of more than £17 million to go towards upgrading mental health support in schools, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:
“Additional funding to train thousands of senior mental health leads in schools is long overdue.
“The number of children with clinically significant mental health conditions has risen year on year and by 50% compared in the last three years alone.
“Last year saw a 35% increase in referrals to children’s mental health services, but only a 4% increase in children actually receiving support.
“This reality of the mental health crisis is continuing to have profound and lasting consequences for children and young people.
“The provision of school-based counselling in every primary and secondary school would be a good starting point.
“It must also be recognised that teachers cannot be expected to fill the gaps caused by cuts to mental health and wellbeing provision over the last decade.
“The Government must recognise that teachers have also been severely impacted by the pandemic - they have served on the frontline throughout and many are suffering mental health problems as a direct result.
“Our research shows that more than three quarters (79%) of teachers feel their job has adversely affected their mental health in the last 12 months, and nearly a quarter (23%) have sought medical help to cope.
“The Government cannot expect teachers to simply soldier on. Many teachers are now at crisis point and threatening to leave the profession.
“The success of education recovery depends upon the wellbeing of teachers, and the Government must urgently set out how it intends to support teachers’ mental health and wellbeing.”