How Tameside schools are tackling mental health
Thursday 30th March 2017 @ 15:11 by Adam Higgins
Education News Tameside

More than 30 primary and secondary schools across Tameside have been taking part in a series of training events aimed at tackling mental health issues in children.

The sessions have been aimed at raising awareness that, if caught early enough, can reduce the amount of long term problems in pupils.

The training was provided by Carillion Education Services, who are eager to support schools in their detection of issues, which, if identified early, can prevent problems later in life.

With Prime Minister Theresa May laying out plans in January for schools to have a Level 3 Mental Health and Wellbeing Officer in schools, the course was keenly attended by more than 60 delegates.

Karen Burns, CEO of Carillion Academies Trust and an Executive Headteacher said: “It is vital that staff are able to identify, prevent and intervene in mental health issues in school. And early intervention is key.”

The aim was to help stamp out the stigma that can be associated with mental health problems and prevent people from seeking help.

With trained staff in schools now having the skills to identify the problems, it is believed that issues can be dealt with from the outset.

One delegate clearly felt the training had had a huge impact: “What the presenters have pointed out it takes about 10 years for a young person to end up with a proper diagnosis and get help with a mental health issue.

With that being the case you’ve got a young person possibly leaving high school, at 16, that could have been picked up at the onset or signs could have been picked at six-years-old and dealt with throughout that young persons education.”

The delegate added: “I’ve learnt an enormous amount and it’s been very, very helpful. I’m going away thinking I’m pretty well briefed. I’m not an expert obviously but I know I will consult more.”

Run by Team Mental Health the sessions were not about making school teachers and support staff experts in mental health but assisting those working on the front line in making a positive difference in supporting pupils being mentally healthy.

Dr Libby Artingstall, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Team Mental Health was one of the professionals that led the sessions and she firmly believes that empowering educational professionals can only benefit pupils: “I think it’s something schools are crying out for,” revealed Dr Artingstall.

“I think they are recognising there is an increasing number of children and young people who are experiencing mental health problems and being in their natural role as teachers and being positive influencers on others lives, they want to do something that could help.

“So gathering information and knowing how to put steps in place to prevent mental health problems and pick things up early is really beneficial and they feel a sense of value and increased self-confidence to manage potential difficult situations.”

Recognising issues early on, and making sure they get the right support can only help young in both the long and short term. It also means they are more likely to achieve their potential than ever before.


By Matt Hewitt