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School interventions planned as part of new mental health strategy

11/01/2017 Joanna

The government has announced a series of new measures that aim to reduce the impact of mental health problems on a nationwide basis, with schools to play a key role in this.

During the annual Charity Commission lecture, prime minister Theresa May has outlined package of measures to transform mental health support in schools, workplaces and communities across the UK, with the aim of ensuring physical and mental health interventions are given the same degree of focus.

As part of this, every secondary school in the country is to be offered mental health first aid training, with new trials to be launched to examine how it might be possible to strengthen links between schools and local NHS mental health staff.

Additionally, a major thematic review of children and adolescent mental health services across the country will take place, headed by the Care Quality Commission. This will help to identify which current methods are working and which are not, paving the way for a green paper outlining plans to transform provision of mental health support for children and young people in schools and universities.

Mrs May said: "What I am announcing are the first steps in our plan to transform the way we deal with mental illness in this country at every stage of a person's life: not in our hospitals, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities.

"This starts with ensuring that children and young people get the help and support they need and deserve."

Currently, one in four people in the UK has a common mental disorder, with the economic and social cost of mental illness coming to £105 billion - equivalent to the entire annual budget of the NHS.

Mental illness disproportionately affects young people, with more than half of mental health problems starting by the age of 14 and 75 per cent by 18. Schools can therefore play a pivotal role in tackling the problem.

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