The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

19 Jun 2017

Going to be

SAMH logoSAMH works in communities across Scotland providing mental health support and services

Three children in every classroom will have experienced a mental health problem by the time they’re 16, and thousands will struggle to get the help they need.

It’s got to change, and that’s what SAMH’s new campaign is all about. Around since 1923, SAMH is Scotland’s national mental health charity. We work in communities across Scotland, and this month we launched our biggest ever campaign, ‘Going To  Be’.

The campaign will run for two years, but in its opening weeks, we’re drawing attention to the thousands of young people who are being turned away from getting help for their mental health. And we’re calling for staff in schools to be trained in mental health, so they help young people understand the issue.

Nearly 7,000 young people were turned away from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in Scotland last year. We don’t know why, what happened to them, and what other services were offered, if any.

Mental health support for children and young people needs review, refocus and investment in early intervention services to help young people at the earliest opportunity. There’s much to do. But one action we want to see urgently is the creation of a programme to train all school staff in mental health.

Teachers were first promised training in mental health in 2005. Education Scotland says everyone working with children and young people needs health and wellbeing training (see Health and wellbeing: the responsibility of all 3-18). Yet we still have no comprehensive programme. SAMH believes teachers should learn about protecting mental health and identifying problems both before and after they qualify as teachers.  And support staff need training too: for example, catering staff may be the first to spot the signs of an eating disorder. But young people say teachers are not always well equipped to talk about mental health (see Our generation's epidemic, Scottish Youth Parliament ). The new Scottish Mental Health Strategy (Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027)commits once again to rolling out mental health training in education. This time, we need to make it happen.

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