Teachers who help are not equipped

Teachers do not receive enough support when dealing with
children’s mental health problems, campaigners have warned
following evidence that most parents turn to teachers first with
concerns about their children.

An Office for National Statistics study last week showed that
teachers were the first professionals that most parents contacted
with mental health concerns involving their children.

Dinah Morley, acting director of charity YoungMinds, said that
many teachers did not know where to refer parents to and often sent
them to GPs, who also often lacked support.

Paul Corry, director of campaigns and communications at Rethink,
said the charity provided support for teachers but it was only
available in some areas due to limited resources.

“Teachers don’t have easy access to a network of school health
support that focuses on mental health. Many schools rely on
teachers who are trained in counselling techniques, which is fine
for immediately solvable emotional problems but not for more
serious common mental health problems,” he said.

The study, carried out in 2004 and covering children aged
between five and 16, also revealed that one in 10 children and
young people had a mental disorder – the same proportion as in

Conduct disorders, which include characteristics such as temper
outbursts and disobedience, were found to be the most common
disorders, affecting 6 per cent of children and young people.


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