Head Teachers Concerned About Pupils Suffering Anxiety: Education market research carried out with more than 1,000 head teachers has suggested that almost two thirds (64%) see pupil depression as a concern – in addition, four fifths of head teachers in secondary schools expressed fears over self-harming.
The research, which was carried out for The Key, a network of school leaders, asked the views of 1,131 school leaders and found several worrying trends.
Overall, 41% of head teachers expressed concerns about the level of eating disorders in schools – this was slightly more prevalent in secondary schools (55%) than in primary schools (32%).
More than half (51%) were worried about self-harming in their schools. Again, this was more prevalent in secondary schools (80%) than in primary schools (33%).
Not only were head teachers worried about these issues occurring, they also highlighted the difficulty in referring them to the relevant bodies. In particular, school leaders regularly experienced delays when referring people to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs). Almost half (45%) had to wait between one and three months for the case in question to be followed up by the agency, with a quarter (26%) waiting three to six months and almost a tenth (9%) having to wait longer than six months for any follow-up action.
This research comes in the wake of findings from Young Minds, a charity specialising in young people’s mental health, which has suggested that more than half of councils across England have frozen or reduced their budget for looking after children’s and adolescent’s mental health. Currently, 10% of the NHS budget is spent on mental health, with only 6% of this figure dedicated to Camhs.
Lucie Russel, director of campaigns at Young Minds, reacted to The Key’s poll by stating that mental health spending needed prioritisation. She added that statistically three children in every classroom will have a ‘diagnosable mental health problem’, and described the fact that only 0.6% of the NHS budget was earmarked for Camhs ‘a national disgrace’.
The Local Government Association has described local councils as being ‘over-stretched’, and has called for a complete overhaul of the current system.
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