Many teachers are not adequately trained to respond to mental health problems in children

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Schools and teachers who do not receive adequate training are stepping up their efforts to provide mental health support to children. Association of Education and Health Professionals, writes in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicinehe said there was an urgent need to invest in schools and teachers to support them to improve mental health and address problems.

The incidence of mental illness among children has increased by 50% in just three years with one-fourth of children with mental illness receiving support from mental health specialists. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that teachers are the main beneficiaries of such children. Like many health professionals on the front lines, a large number of educators also experience mental illness on their own.

Educators, along with general practitioners (GPs) and social workers, comprise the “tier 1” of Child and Adolescent Obstetrics and Gynecology (CAMHS) services and are considered to be able to recommend general and treatment for minor problems, and an indication of more. professional services. In practice, say the authors, teachers end up providing substantial support to children across all needs, because it is difficult to access professional services.

Lead researcher and former lecturer Chloe Lowry, of the College of Education London College, said, “It is surprising and alarming that teachers do not have enough training on these tasks. Given the important role that Schools and educators play a role in supporting children ‘s long-term health and well-being, and responding when problems arise, providing financial support from the health sector to address this forgetfulness. health workers could change. “

The government is currently funding a mental health awareness campaign punishment for only one teacher per school. The authors point to a government study that found 40 per cent of classroom teachers in the UK reported that they felt they were being provided to teach children in their classrooms with mental health needs, and that 32% they just know how to help students get special health care outside of school.

One author, Dame Alison Peacock, President of Chartered College of Education, said, “Despite such unprecedented needs, inadequate training, and staff interested in learning, “Education should not be left to chance at the highest level. The most recent teacher training in the UK, with a focus on improving the quality of education.”

Regardless of social status, children are socially well-adjusted and emotional development achieve higher GCSE scores, while those with mental health problems may be weaker. Research shows that the impact of single teachers on students’ mental health is just as important as their impact on academic test scores.

The authors continue to offer recommendations that include comprehensive training on child development, health and wellness in teacher training courses, and free tutoring for any current situation. teachers. They also recommend investing in schools to be a hub for children’s activities, from social workers to co-workers.

Dame Alison added, “We are proposing these recommendations to improve the quality of education, turn the negative attitudes of underprivileged children and improve the well-being of teachers into positive circles that promote long-term physical health of children.” , mental health, educational and economic outcomes. ”

Research shows that educators have a unique role to play in providing mental health

Learn more:
Educators: Forgotten health workers, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1177 / 01410768221085692

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SAGE Publications

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