Feb 2, 2020, Guardian: English schools buying in mental health support has 'almost doubled' in three years https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/03/english-schools-buying-in-mental-health-support-has-almost-doubled-in-three-years The number of schools in England buying in professional mental health support for pupils has nearly doubled in three years, as prompt access to NHS services for those children most in need continues to be a problem, a new survey has found. In 2016 more than a third (36%) of schools surveyed provided school-based support for students’ emotional and mental wellbeing. By 2019 66% of school leaders said they were commissioning their own professional support for pupils, including school-based counsellors. The poll, by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), indicates that schools have developed an improved understanding and recognition of children’s mental health needs, but headteachers say there is still a lack of capacity in specialist services for those with more serious problems…. “We can see that schools are responding to an increasing need and a lack of capacity in specialist services by commissioning their own support such as counsellors. Although to be applauded, this is another area where schools are being forced to use scant resources for urgent provision that is not provided for in their budgets.”… Place2Be’s chief executive, Catherine Roche, said: “Three children in every classroom now has a mental health issue, so it is positive to see these results which show that more school leaders are responding to this need by providing professional support for children and young people within school. “But schools cannot tackle this problem alone. They need expert help in school, backed up by NHS services that can step in when more specialist support is required.” The survey found 79% of schools have a whole-school approach to positive mental health; 78% have a designated staff member responsible for mental wellbeing; at 67% of schools, staff have undertaken mental health training and 66% of school leaders said pupils feel confident to talk to staff about their mental wellbeing….