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Beating the blues

IN the week an Edinburgh 17-year-old at an independent school hung himself, Glasgow is to be commended for its open acceptance of what is a massive problem of mental health among children and young people. As the report to its children's committee establishes, as many as one in five may suffer at some stage. Certainly, more than 10,000 have particular problems. This is a subject few talk about and few recognise. It is still widely regarded as an adult problem, yet there is increasing evidence of troubled children wherever teachers look.

Some problems will be visible early on. Sadly, many others are less so and children may never reveal their concerns until it is too late. Childline continues to listen to thousands of young voices every year on anything from bullying to sexual or physical abuse. Perhaps busy teachers intent on delivering the hard-edged curriculum miss the signs of trouble.

Many would not be trained to recognise them. But responses change with the times and new community school experiments in school nurses and counsellors - someone independent to talk to and readily available - are indeed worthwhile initiatives. Increasing self-worth is crucial. That applies equally to teachers.

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