Unveiling a "step-change" in the way children and young people with mental health problems are to be supported both inside and outside the classroom, the Department for Education announced there will be:
- brand new guidance for schools, produced in conjunction with the PSHE Association, which will help schools provide age-appropriate teaching on mental health problems from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and self-harm
- a new visionary blueprint for schools on counselling services, developed in conjunction with children and young people, which provides headteachers with practical advice on how to deliver top-quality school-based counselling services that meet the needs of those it intends to support
- a multi-million-pound funding injection for voluntary organisations to boost support on offer for young people struggling with mental health
- a new funding commitment worth £4.9 million through the government's voluntary and community sector funding programme.
The measures instantly received sector support with Place2Be chief executive Catherine Roche saying the guidance is "an important step in ensuring that high quality, accessible support is available in schools".
“We know from experience that delivering high quality counselling within the safe and trusted school environment is one of the best places for children to receive this support, " she continued. "We are delighted to see this being recognised by Government with this Blueprint.
“Head teachers have a vital role to play to instil a culture across the whole school which builds their pupils’ resilience and equips them with the skills to cope with life’s challenges. But we also know that teaching staff need expert support in this sensitive area. The Blueprint highlights the importance of putting children's emotional welfare as centre stage as their physical needs - and equipping them with the tools to come to terms with their emotions, which will ultimately help them to concentrate in class and improve their capacity to learn."
The new guidance will also be matched by detailed lesson plans - to be published in time for the new school year - with tangible and real-life examples of how these important matters should be taught to children and young people.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, said: "As a mum myself, I know growing up today is no easy task. Young people are under more pressure than ever before in ways that are unimaginable to my generation. This is driven home to me every week when I visit schools across the country and talk to pupils about the issues affecting them - and mental health comes up time and time again.
"We send our children to school to learn life lessons both inside and outside the classroom. The new guidance published today will give teachers the confidence to teach mental wellbeing sensitively and effectively, while the lessons plans will give them the material needed to inspire them.
"There must be no trade-off between learning about mental health and academic success. By improving teaching on this subject we will help young people make sense of mental health issues and teach them how to keep themselves and others healthy."
Read the guidance in full at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-action-plan-to-tackle-mental-health-stigma-in-schools