The government is advising that all schools and colleges should have a senior member of staff who is trained in mental health to aid in a holistic approach and in the prioritising of the mental wellbeing of pupils, students and staff.
Although not compulsory, the government is strongly advising that a member of staff who is fully trained and informed on ideas around mental health and wellbeing as a method of safeguarding children and young people, as well as staff working in educational establishments, after what has been one of the toughest years on mental health.
This training is being offered up by The Department for Education (DfE), to every school or college in England
The DfE acknowledge that a “coordinated and evidence-informed approach to mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges leads to improved pupil and student emotional health and wellbeing which can help readiness to learn.”
This training will be supplied as part of a grant to educational establishments and will be available to headteachers, deputy headteachers, members of senior leadership teams, other appropriate members of staff who are empowered to develop and oversee the school/colleges approach to mental health; as an aside to this, if an establishment already has an appointed mental health lead, they can also attend this training to refresh and develop their already existing skills.
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This news brings hope to part of an ongoing response that prioritises the welfare of young people and children due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s ongoing negative impact on their mental health. Especially as results from studies and surveys such as one Barnardos conducted in May that found over a third of 8-15-year-olds are experiencing increased levels of stress and worry since the start of the pandemic.
Solutions to this crisis among the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people has come in the form of research that suggests those who have access to one-to-one counselling in their educational establishment fare much better than their peers who did not.
This grant to implement mental health training to senior staff is a step in the right direction in addressing the need for holistic approaches to mental health solutions in schools and colleges. It is a part of a wider approach that the government announced on the 2nd of June to reshape how mental health is discussed, taught, implemented into practice, applied to staff, and of course to make sure students and pupils are safeguarded in the most effective ways so that their time at school can be enriching and positive.