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Mental health first aid training to be offered to all secondary schools

29/06/2017 Joanna

The government has announced new plans that will see every secondary school in the country receive mental health first aid training by 2020.

Teachers and staff across the UK have now started training to identify and respond to early signs of mental health problems among pupils, with 1,000 staff to be involved in the initial stage of the programme's rollout. In years two and three, it will expand to cover all of the country's secondary schools.

A total of £200,000 in government funding will be made available to support the first year of the scheme, which will be delivered by the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid. Participants will receive practical advice on how to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, psychosis, self-harm and eating disorders.

Teachers will also be invited to become Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions, sharing their knowledge and understanding of mental health across the school and wider community.

Currently, it is estimated that around one in ten children have a diagnosable mental health disorder, with half of all mental health conditions beginning before the age of 14. Indeed, research by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers has indicated that 98 per cent of teachers have come into contact with pupils experiencing mental health issues, but only 46 per cent received training to deal with these problems.

Education secretary Justine Greening said: "This new training will give teachers more confidence in tackling mental health issues and build on the fantastic support we know they already give their pupils. It's great that so many schools are taking part and I'd encourage others to follow their lead."

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