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Mental health specialist in every school....

(84 Posts)
Luckygirl Mon 08-May-17 12:05:21

.......oh dear! - maybe the way to deal with the mental health problems of pupils is to stop driving them to the brink with a proscriptive curriculum, SATs and stressed teachers inundated with paperwork. TH's announcement seems to be tackling this from the wrong end IMO.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 12:25:31

I feel so sorry for some children today. They have so much on their plates don't they?

My DGD (11) is past herself with worry about her forthcoming SATS. She is a hard worker and her teacher predicts she should be fine, but who knows? On top of this she does not have a secondary school to got to, other than the one miles away and two buses, offered by our LEA. More worry. She is terrified about September and insists she will not go to the offered school. More worry.

TM seems obsessed with grammar school and free schools when she should be looking at providing places for children within existing schools.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 12:26:03

Meant to add. How rubbish that an 11 year old is bogged down with worry.

Luckygirl Mon 08-May-17 13:52:39

Just been chatting to a Mum whose DD cannot sleep because of the SATs and this is in a school where I am governor and it is played down in a big way. No need for her to be so worried - the school take a very relaxed approach and she is a child who is very bright.

If my childern were of SATs age I would refuse to allow them to take them. No question.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 13:57:16

Sounds like my DGD Luckygirl she is almost eating, sleeping and breathing the bl**dy things. I am so angry. Can't blame the school who are only trying to help the children do well but what purpose do they serve? Other than to stress young children out.

gillybob Mon 08-May-17 14:01:02

Children just seem to have so much to try and live up to these days. So called celebrities splattered all over the television and internet, bragging how rich and beautiful they are. Twig thin girls (and boys)who have never done a days work in their lives and are rich and famous for being rich and famous. Everyone telling them they "must do well, to get a good job". Then you have peer pressure, drink, drugs and bullying. No wonder more and more young people suffer from mental illnesses.

Beammeupscottie Mon 08-May-17 14:21:30

I would have thought mental health issues also come from broken family situation where children are subjected to all kinds of problems not encountered by children with a stable family arrangement.

Hilltopgran Mon 08-May-17 14:21:54

My DGD was finding school difficult due to a group of girls who were friends one day and fell out the next and were generally unkind. My DD and I were impressed with the way her School has a Counsellor for the pupils, and on her advice the school did let my DGD move classes, and the problems went away. They do not live in this country, but I thought it good that a 12 year old could talk about her feelings without special referrals etc having to be made, it was just part of the school service.
So I hope something similar can be developed here so young people at a vunerable time can find a safe person to talk to.

annsixty Tue 09-May-17 07:39:30

I feel it is an indictment of society today that so many young people have mental health issues. We are not blameless, too much pressure is put on children from the minute they are born.
" my baby walks,talks,sleeps through earlier than any other"
Come school "X is in set 1 for everything, gets fantastic results in everything"
The poor children are held in comparison all the time.
All my 6 GC are in broken marriages and it has affected them. I am so sad for them and most children today. Expectations are totally unreasonable.

Anya Tue 09-May-17 07:51:45

I don't know if the pressures are greater than with previous generations or simply different. In the past children had to deal with fathers being out of work and no benefits to fall back in to feed the family, or fathers away at war, getting killed. Death was quite common and hunger and poverty was rife. Children were sent out to work at much earlier ages and a lot was expected of them.

Communication, radio, TV, social media are creating a new kind of pressure. As is the education system and modern expectations.

One of the best things we can teach our children or grandchildren is resilience. I once remember the lecturer in my 'A' level psychology class saying that part of a parents job is to put their child under stress, small stresses, such as saying 'no' when they're young and other stresses (such as standing up to their teenage angst or demands) when they are older, thus teaching them to deal with it in a supportive, loving environment.

annsixty Tue 09-May-17 08:02:09

That last sentence is very true Anya children are given so much far too early and made to feel that the sun revolves round them. Come real life and competition from others and they are lost. Life is tough, teach them that from an early age and how to deal with disappointment and bounce back and we teach them well.

grannyqueenie Tue 09-May-17 08:09:45

Well said, Anya. A good friend of mine always said if children don't learn to cope with disappointment in childhood it's poor preparation for adulthood, which let's face it can be full of disappointments in relationships, employment etc.
Social media has a huge part to play too, most teenagers are welded to their phones where chat, some if it very negative and destructive stuff, goes on 24 hours a day. I've just spent a weekend with my son and his family and am saddened by how unhappy my beautiful and much loved 14 year old granddaughter seems. Her parents are really struggling, she won't engage with the counselling support offered at school and it's hard to see how anything will change for her at present. Not as hard a life as youngsters of the past had but full of challenges, some of them quite subtle, nonetheless.

Anya Tue 09-May-17 08:12:24

grannyqueenie that's exactly the right phrase learn to cope with disappointment and in childhood.

grannypiper Tue 09-May-17 08:16:34

Anya you have summed it up perfectly. A lot of parents never use the word no and use the word treat too often

Anya Tue 09-May-17 08:22:28

I'm not blaming parents here. What I'm saying is that they are misguided if they allow their children to think the world revolves around them and that they are more important than they actually are. In this, society must take the blame too.

Luckygirl Tue 09-May-17 08:39:40

Children clearly have to learn to cope with disappointment - that is part of growing up. And the presence of counsellors in schools is not unknown - but the budget cuts mean that some schools (like ours) have had to get rid of them. I am not averse to counsellors in school - it makes a lot of sense.

What peeves me is that what TM is proposing is a response to the increase in mental health problems in young people and the proposal is a sticking plaster that does not tackle some of the root causes. Those causes in the school context are often due to pressures that schools are under to get good SATs results or their school gets a poor OfSted. Other things like the curriculum being too narrow and the teachers being under stress play their part.

There are clearly out of school pressures to that contribute; but if the in school pressures were properly tackled then this would be of huge benefit.

One child I know simply did not finish her SATs tests because she was so tired from a sleepless night of worry and so nervous that she could not function - she is top of her class. My own DGD spent the entire school year prior to the sATs worrying about them.

It is hard for teachers who often try, quite rightly, to play down the SATs, because they know that their school is being judged on it and they have pressure from above.

The system needs overhauling.

Marydoll Tue 09-May-17 08:39:57

I worked in a school, where a number of pupils were experiencing mental health issue and attending a child mental health unit. It was awful to watch them suffering. Most of their problems stemmed from their home life.
I agree that we put undue pressure on pupils. In my LEA, all pupils in mainstream had to sit SATS, regardless of ability. It was nothing short of cruelty to make these children attempt the tests.
However, we do have to prepare our children for life as adults teach them how to deal with disappointment.

Luckygirl Tue 09-May-17 08:40:17


Iam64 Tue 09-May-17 08:45:21

Where is the money to come from to put a mental health specialist in every school? What does the term mean? Many of the schools in particularly deprived areas locally, had a counsellor or play therapist on school premises. Not any more, the cuts mean those employees were no longer affordable.

I've no objection to taxes being used to provide a suitably qualified person to support children at school. If this is a genuine proposal, we need to know how its to be funded and whether other essential services in our Child and Adolescent Mental Health departments are to have their budgets reinstated, or better yet, improved.

I agree with the wider point that as a society and in education, our children would benefit from actually having a childhood.

cornergran Tue 09-May-17 08:54:29

I would question if there are sufficient appropriately trained people to provide in-school support at the moment. The right training is essential.

trisher Tue 09-May-17 10:24:29

It's a cynical attempt to attract votes and give the impression that they actually care. At a time when education is struggling, there aren't enough school places and class numbers are through the roof there is to be a 'mental health specialist' in every school. What I suspect this really means is that some poor teacher already overburdened with work will be sent on a short training course and then proclaimed a 'mental health specialist'. Meantime the cuts to all other services will go ahead. Children will continue to struggle with the number of tests and examinations they are subjected to, teachers will struggle to cope with the work load and education will suffer. But don't worry any child with a problem will be referred to the 'mental health specialist' who will try to fit in interviews between the preparation, marking and teaching and dealing with discipline problems.

Anya Tue 09-May-17 12:17:04

That sounds about right trisher going by my (and probably yours an almost every other teacher's) experiences in education.

Iam64 Tue 09-May-17 13:01:14

Yes it does sound like a correct summary of what will happen trisher.
Or alternatively, someone who has been a carer, family centre worker for example will be employed. I'm not criticising carers or family centre workers because I recognise the excellent work many do. I'm repeating the point that therapeutic work/mental health assessment of children needs a high level of training and on going clinical supervision. Poor intervention can be worse than no intervention.

Luckygirl Tue 09-May-17 13:05:08

Any teacher would tell TM loud and clear what the real problems in school are - she just needs to listen. These attempts to catch votes really get up my nose. Does she think we do not have the nouse to know where the real problems lie? I wonder where she got this little sound bite from - certainly not from consulting teachers.

trisher Tue 09-May-17 14:54:44

Oh I can see some little researcher in Tory HQ going "Mental health is becoming very trendy, even Prince Harry is talking about it. What can we do that sounds good but means nothing?" Bingo!