Mental health in schools top of the agenda

Plans to improve services to tackle mental health among young people in schools will continue the excellent work already being carried out by the City of Edinburgh Council.

A package of measures were announced today (Tuesday 4 September) by the Scottish Government that will deliver additional mental health training for teachers, more school nurses to offer emotional and mental health support and ensure every secondary school has access to counselling services.  

Councillor Ian Perry, Convener for Education, Children and Families, said the proposals would reinforce the many mental health projects currently taking place in Edinburgh schools.

He said: "Our wide range of interventions, preventative approaches, training and initiatives for young people’s mental health and wellbeing have benefitted thousands of staff, pupils and families.

“These include Growing Confidence mental health and wellbeing training for staff and parents, mental health first aid, Building Resilience, 1 in 5 Child Poverty, Seasons For Growth, nurturing approaches and Rights Respecting Schools which are well embedded across Edinburgh linked into Curriculum for Excellence and Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC). The proposals announced today will build on our positive work already happening in our schools.”

Councillor Alison Dickie, Vice Convener for Education, Children and Families said: “Here in Edinburgh we want to remove the stigma of mental health and encourage everyone that it’s OK to talk about mental health issues. It’s all about prevention before it gets to crisis - people shouldn’t be suffering in silence.

“For young people it’s important to talk about mental health at the point of need before it becomes too late to prevent issues escalating. All schools are being encouraged to identify and shape what is right for them when it comes to dealing with mental health, whether that is peer mentoring, nurture bases, clear signposting or identified staff in schools as key adults.

“Equipping all adults to be able to support a child in distress is the best approach as many children and young people we consulted with preferred to talk to someone they already had a relationship with.

“We are passionate about addressing this issue and this is why we are holding a Mental Health conference in February to explore ideas and showcase the best practice taking place right here in Scotland’s capital.”

The First Minister made her announcement after a visit this morning to Leith Academy to see the ongoing mental health work at the school.

The latest report on how the City of Edinburgh Council supports children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in Edinburgh schools was discussed at the Education, Children and Families Committee in March.



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