(UK) Govt blamed for ignoring "tragic upsurge" in children with mental health issues

June 18, 2019, Independent: Schools aren’t equipped to deal with the government’s mental health failings, stop passing the buck

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Charlotte R Walker (It’s too late for Theresa May to solve the mental health crisis among young people – here’s why) is right to highlight the inadequacy of this government’s response to the tragic upsurge in the numbers of children needing treatment for mental health issues. Once again the government, which has cut school funding by 8 per cent per pupil, instructs teachers to solve another of society’s problems. It isn’t going to work. Twenty years ago, I was part of a senior management team that sought to introduce the position of school counsellor to a medium-sized secondary school because the NHS had very little to offer at that time…. Children face diverse and complex issues at home, at school and on social media and react in unpredictable ways; some are predisposed to develop mental health problems. A sympathetic ear is not enough – a team of multidisciplinary experts is needed to agree the right treatment and the lead counsellor needs supervision in order to maintain their own mental health. Without this, there is a danger of doing more harm than good. Schools are not resourced to manage the many extra meetings with stakeholders (they used to be called parents) which can, themselves, lead to additional patients; neither can they manage the build-up of false hopes and the subsequent despair. Finally, properly trained and experienced personnel are very rarely available in the workforce. A modern, properly funded referral service is the only answer. Until we have that this tragedy of ruined lives and aspirations will just get worse. David Lowndes Soberton, Hampshire