Teacher say children face mental health epidemic

Teenage mental health charity stem4 have released findings from a survey of teachers looking at children and young people’s mental health issues in schools.

Findings from an online survey of 300 teachers working in primary and secondary schools , and further education colleges in the UK show that:

  • 78% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils has experienced a mental health issue over the past year;
  • 14% said that at least one of their pupils has experienced suicidal thoughts and behaviours over the past year;
  • 66% reported a pupil has suffered anxiety, and
  • 45% have witnessed a student with depression
  • 30% engaged with a pupil who had an eating disorder
  • 28% supported a pupil with self-harm
  • 10% reported a pupil who had an addiction.

Yet the teachers told the survey that just under half (46%) of students are unable to access the mental health services they need to make a recovery, with only one in five (19%) saying all these students were getting the treatment they needed. One in five (22%) say pupils needing specialist treatment typically had to wait more than five months for an appointment, and more than a third (36%) had feared at some point that a pupil would come to harm while waiting for treatment.

Nearly one in ten (9%) described their school’s mental health provision as ‘non-existent’, with 30% saying it was inadequate or very inadequate. Four in ten (40%) of the state school teachers surveyed say the need for mental health services has increased over the past year. Over half (52%) of all respondents believed family difficulties were contributing to their students’ problems while other common causes were exam stress and the emotional impact of bullying, both cited by 41%.

For more information read their full news release.

Children’s & youth work links

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Books I have read: The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce

the irresistible inheritance of wilberforce

The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce by Paul Torday was a book I picked up in a charity shop thinking it looked an intriguing read.  Wilberforce is a man who has become an alcoholic, drinking up to 4 or 5 bottles of wine, but unlike many alcoholics he focuses only on top quality vintage wines – many of which he “inherited”.

I found it to be a real poignant literary piece – it was clever how Paul Torday starts the story with the conclusion – the year of 2006 – with each section of the book sharing the previous year, so as the book goes on the reader discovers the reasons for his alcoholism and his intricate personal relationships.

This isn’t a happy narrative – it is a book that narrates the story of a lonely and depressed man who in trying to please other people and in this ends up an alcoholic and thereby further alienating those around him.  Whilst it isn’t a happy book, I did enjoy the book, and found the writing captivating – especially the early chapters where I was still trying to place Wilberforce and the other characters in the story.