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'Havering schools play crucial role in tackling mental health issues'

PUBLISHED: 07:01 14 January 2019

An officer from mental health charity Place2Be talking to students. Photo by Place2be

An officer from mental health charity Place2Be talking to students. Photo by Place2be

Archant

Schools must play a crucial role in tackling mental health issues, according to Havering Council.

Dr Patrick Johnston, director of learning and practice at Place2Be. Photo by Place2BeDr Patrick Johnston, director of learning and practice at Place2Be. Photo by Place2Be

All schools will be required to include mental health and wellbeing in their curriculums by 2022, according to Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget announcement, highlighting the increasing onus placed on teachers to support suffering students.

Working with several health services, the council currently delivers, commissions and promotes a wide range of training and support to encourage positive mental health and wellbeing in schools.

The council believes it is extremely important to build further links between schools and the local authority by providing further training for school staff, interventions delivered direct to students, and awareness-raising sessions for parents or guardians.

Cllr Robert Benham, responsible for education, children and families at Havering, said: “Support to enable students to thrive is key. It is about creating an environment in school that promotes positive mental health and that additional support is available, when needed throughout childhood and into adult life.

“By providing staff with the knowledge and skills needed to promote good mental health and to be able to identify risks and early intervention into issues, we can help to ensure additional support is provided in the right place, at the right time.

“In doing so we can look to prevent many problems escalating, and enable students to live happier, healthier lives.”

Place2Be works to provide mental health support in Havering schools, allowing professionals to reach children who need help at the earliest stage, before problems grow and become more complex.

Dr Patrick Johnston, director of learning and practice at Place2Be, added: “One in nine school-age children have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and even more will be affected by challenging circumstances such as bereavement, family breakdown or bullying.

“Providing high quality mental health support in schools is a really effective way to make services easily accessible, and allows professionals to reach children who need help at the earliest stage, before problems grow and become more complex.”

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