Mental Health awareness in schools across Manchester, is set to be improved thanks to a green paper released by the government which proposes several plans to be put in place by 2022 across the UK.

The £300m investment is part of new measures taken by the Department of Health and Education.

Plans on the green paper include: a four-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services, training for designated members of staff in schools to improve prevention work, every secondary and primary school in England to be offered mental health awareness training, earlier access to services through the creation of new mental health support teams working in and directly with schools and all pupils to be taught about mental health and wellbeing in PSHE lessons.

Across the UK it has been recorded that 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 70% of mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficient early age.

In particular, Stretford High School in Greater Manchester is a secondary school which aims to improve communication to help pupils achieve their full potential and recognises that mental health awareness and support is essential for doing this.

Lindsay Brindley, Deputy Headteacher, says she is cautiously pleased to see how the plans are going to effect the mental heatlh services at her school, she said: “We experience daily, young people who desperately need support and have to wait months to get it. As a result we already operate an initial intervention service that addresses risk taking behaviours, sense of belonging and emotional, social and environmental well being.

“Due to the lack of provision currently available and the level of need we have had to make significant investment to plug the gaps.

“We hope that the support being offered is significant enough to address the root causes as well as enabling direct, timely and effective interventions to happen.

Although, she admits some fears with the plans, saying: “Our fear as that this is a cost cutting exercise in reality.”

As part of the plans to bring in support teams working in schools, one charity with this in mind, who will be able to broaden their services is Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

The charity, is a children’s mental health charity with a hub in Manchester which aims to support young children and their families.

In a press release by Anna Freud, the charity expresses that they are pleased with the issue being acknowledged and addressed by the government.

Jaime Smith, Programme Director for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools at AFNCCF, said: “The publication of this green paper is an important step in acknowledging the role that schools play in promoting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. It is vital now that the ambition of the green paper is carried forward and that schools, colleges and early years providers are equipped through support and funding to feel confident in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing and in ensuring that those children and young people who are at risk receive timely and appropriate help.”

Like Stretford High School and many other schools across Greater Manchester and the UK, the mental health support programme being extended to 1,200 schools and colleges comes as good news.

With the intervention waiting time into mental health problems for young people being at an average of 10 years, the new law of 4-weeks allows the issues to eventually raise mental health awareness at a quicker rate.

To find out more information on the government’s plans, click here.

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