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Government pledges to improve support for student mental health

Schools are to be supported to do more for young people with mental health problems, under new plans set out by the government today.

The PSHE Association will be commissioned to produce resources on the best ways to discuss mental health issues in the classroom and to banish the stigma that can leave young people with mental health problems feeling isolated.

The Department for Education is also working with young people and experts on a guide on how to improve the quality of counselling services in schools.

Children and education minister Sam Gyimah said: “Many schools are already doing excellent work in providing support to their pupils but we know there is more to do to ensure schools enrich the whole child.”

Last month, the DfE invited voluntary organisations to bid for a share of £25m for projects that will focus on improving young people’s mental health in schools. Bids for that money must be in by tomorrow.

Earlier this year the government issued advice to schools to identify and support those pupils whose behaviour suggests they may have underlying mental health problems – meaning fewer pupils will be wrongly labelled troublemakers.

Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, a charity providing counselling in schools, said: “We are especially pleased that the department will not only be paying attention to PSHE provision, but also to the very important role that services like Place2Be can play in school to improve children’s psychological well being and potential to learn.” 

For more on child mental health, click here to read a TES comment piece by Sam Gyimah

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