At B**P, we have a strong belief that it is important to address the mental health needs of young people before it’s too late. There is no doubt that the number of under 18s that have been diagnosed with mental health problems has increased drastically over the past few years, with government support declining alongside this, clearly causing devastating effects. According to a 2013 study by the Association for Young People’s Health, 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, with the number of young people being admitted to hospital for self harm increasing over the last ten years by 68%.

More recently, however, a survey of secondary school leaders has shown that a gap has arisen in mental health provision outside the classroom, which means that issues including cyberbulling and self-harm are not being addressed, according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

The statistics show that more than half of those surveyed had seen a “large increase” in anxiety or stress and over 40% reported a “big increase” in the problem of cyberbullying.

Malcolm Trobe, ASCL Interim General Security, said that services were “pitifully resourced”, adding that mental health care is the “poor relation of the health service”. This is related to the figures showing that nearly two thirds of school leaders struggled to obtain mental health care from their local area, with over half who had contacted Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) rating it as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

In response to the claims, Lucie Russell, a representative for the mental health charity Young Minds, stated:

“Although the government has committed an extra £1.4 billion over five years towards CAMHS, this comes in the context of decades of underfunding. It’s crucial that the extra investment is used to transform mental health services for children, and not simply to plug existing gaps.”

Overall, it is clear that there is a huge problem in schools regarding the mental health support that many children do not receive, often leading to problems worsening and affecting the child more significantly. Therefore, it is vital that teachers receive greater support and training in passing on such help to their pupils, and that alongside this, mental health charities are also able to provide the support that they need.

Hopefully this is a problem that will improve in the coming years.