Response to Prime Minister's speech about mental health in schools


Date: 9th Jan 2017

Colin Martin, professor of mental health at Buckinghamshire New University, has responded to Theresa May's speech about mental health in schools.

Plans to 'transform' attitudes to mental health, with a focus on children and young people, have been announced by Mrs May.

Prof Martin (pictured) said: "Teachers are not mental health professionals, and nor should one expect them to be.

"However, given that 75 per cent of psychological disorder begins before the end of higher education, mental health and well-being is a critical issue for school leaders. Teachers and educators are in a key place to influence these matters via their approach and skills.

"The government has today made a pledge to provide mental health first aid training in secondary schools but it's imperative that this training provides educators with the skills and tools they need to provide effective support to young people.

"Education professionals tell us they often feel overwhelmed and disempowered by the challenges they face. Bucks New University has created a Master's in mental health and well-being in education as a result.

"Mental health is a hot topic for schools. A survey by The Key showed that two-thirds of school leaders are more concerned about pupils' mental health than any other issue including drugs and bullying.

"And the new OFSTED framework means that schools are now inspected on students' emotional and mental health and well-being so it is firmly on the agenda."