Greater investment is needed in school nurses so that they can provide effective mental health support to children and young people, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
At least 3 children in every classroom now experience a mental health problem, but an RCN survey has shown that without substantial investment in school nursing it won’t be possible to provide them with effective support.
Since 2010, the number of school nurses has fallen by 10% since to only 2,700 caring for more than 9 million pupils.
In addition, the survey reflected the pressure on the current school nursing workforce; more than two thirds of those surveyed said there were insufficient school nursing services in their area, while 70% said their current workload was too heavy, and more than a quarter work over their contracted hours every day.
The findings show the current school nursing workforce has neither the staff nor the resources to deliver the mental health support that children and young people need.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “All children deserve access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Only by investing in school nursing and wider mental health services, can this crisis be tackled and children be given the best chance possible of leading happy and healthy lives.”