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(UK) Scotland is committed to "Mental Health First Aid" for schools

Nov 7, 2018, Scotland Herald: Agenda: We need to put mental health at the heart of school life https://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/17209360.agenda-we-need-to-put-mental-health-at-the-heart-of-school-life/ THE school environment has a profound impact on a child’s development and emotional health. Half of mental health problems arise by the age of 14. Eating disorders have doubled in a decade. Anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts are on the rise. In turn this has created significant pressure on our support services – with referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) increasing by 20 per cent over the past three years. But we can, and must, turn the tide. The Scottish Government’s commitment to invest in school counsellors and train teachers in Mental Health First Aid is to be welcomed – this can help school staff identify symptoms and respond in times of crisis. However, we shouldn’t be waiting for children to become unwell before we’re able to offer support. … The truth is, this generation is facing unprecedented pressures to succeed. Our research found that around two-thirds of young Scots are so worried about succeeding in life that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. … The Mental Health Foundation’s new campaign – Make it Count – calls for health and wellbeing to be just as valued and measured in the school curriculum as literacy and numeracy. As a priority, we need to train teachers to identify problems early and show them how to respond when children seek help. … We need classrooms that measure levels of wellbeing to identify problems early. This could be done through questionnaires during Personal and Social Education (PSE) classes that identify low mood, social isolation, low body confidence, sleep quality or adversity. We’ve been measuring numeracy and literacy for decades – it’s time we did the same with wellbeing. …