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UK: $390M (US dollars) for 'intolerable' mental health crisis in schools; teachers can't cope

Aug 31, 2018, Guardian: Calls for action over UK's 'intolerable' child mental health crisis https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/31/calls-for-action-over-uks-intolerable-child-mental-health-crisis Children and teenagers are facing an “intolerable” mental health crisis and an urgent cash injection is needed in schools to prevent a lifetime of damage, teachers, doctors and MPs have warned. Amid concerns about deeply worrying rates of self-harm and soaring numbers of children seeking help for problems such as eating disorders, teachers, campaigners and politicians have made a desperate plea to the government. The intervention comes after a Children’s Society report revealed more than 100,000 children aged 14 in the UK are self-harming, with 22% of girls affected. The revelation was described as “deeply worrying” by the charity. Teachers’ leaders have said schools are at a crunch point in terms of the mental health challenge facing classrooms, saying they feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. The warnings have been made as thousands of students head back to school after the summer holidays…. Louise Regan, the former president of the National Education Union, added: “Teachers are overwhelmed by the sheer number of students showing signs of mental health problems … a primary teacher I spoke to recently said there was a child she felt really worried about. She was anxious about the pressure being put on her, but said she did not have anyone else to turn to for support.”… The mental health campaigner Natasha Devon echoed calls for funding…. The North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb, said the UK faced an “intolerable crisis”; children only had one childhood and one education. “When it’s gone, it’s gone, and that will leave a lifetime of damage … We are failing an entire generation of young people.” Last year, the government announced a £300m [$390M US dollars] mental health plan for schools. … Lamb said the plan was ambitious but the timescale was “hopelessly inadequate” and many children would not see its impact of it. He added that the latest figures on self-harm should be a “wakeup call” and that an urgent injection of cash was needed…. Another teacher from a comprehensive school in Hertfordshire, also speaking anonymously, said: “We see more kids breaking down with anxiety, having to leave class. Some students in my class have panic attacks once a week and have to leave lessons.”… The soaring rate of mental health problems among young people, particularly girls, has been put down to a combination of social media, pressure from school, austerity and gender expectations. Calls were also made for a change in school culture and a switch of focus from exams to wellbeing. Bernadka Dubicka, the chair of the faculty for child adolescent psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said social media created a new set of challenges for young people, but there were lots of other reasons young people became distressed. “Education is a big contributing factor … the system assessment is causing stress and strain for young people, but within the context of us living in an uncertain world and them having an uncertain future … They worry about unemployment, student fees and those who are not going to college to worry about how they are going to make a living and what the future holds for them.”…