Every new teacher will be trained in how to spot the signs of mental health problems, the prime minister will announce tomorrow.
The training for all new teachers will be backed up by updated statutory guidance to make clear schools’ responsibilities to protect children’s mental wellbeing.
The initiative is part of a wide-ranging package of measures aimed at making sure people have the skills to identify mental health issues before they become critical, especially in young people.
Quick read: Teacher mental health training goes national
Ms May is due to visit a school in south west London to meet pupils who are learning how healthy habits can promote good mental health.
“It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention,” Theresa May will say.
As well as putting in training for all new teachers, the announcement includes extra support for those working in public services to make sure people know how to promote good mental health in the same way that they look after physical wellbeing.
These measures include:
- Support for school mental health leads so they can help children struggling with self-harm and risk of suicide
- Access to teaching and training materials for all teachers to use in classrooms to meet the new requirements for mental health education for all primary and secondary pupils
- Extra funding to support local authorities to strengthen and deliver local suicide prevention plans so that they better meet the needs of the people they serve
- Updated professional standards for social workers across England on mental health issues
- All 1.2 million NHS staff encouraged to take suicide prevention training
Ms May will say: “Too many of us have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of mental illness, which is why tackling this burning injustice has always been a personal priority for me.
“But we should never accept a rise in mental health problems as inevitable.
“The measures we’ve launched today will make sure at every stage of life, for people of all backgrounds, preventing mental illness gets the urgent attention it deserves.”
A new national awareness campaign called Every Mind Matters is due to launch in October 2019, and from 2020 this will give parents access to targeted advice on how to deal with issues like stress, online bullying and self-harm.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “We welcome the sustained momentum from the prime minister and government to improving support for people with mental health problems.
“It’s particularly positive to see such priority given to young people’s mental health – our recent work in schools has shown us the true scale of the need and, as most mental health problems start in childhood, decent support as early as possible is key."
The prime minister will also commit to overhauling the Mental Health Act.