Local MP John Healey has welcomed news that Rotherham has been picked to test a new Government scheme to boost schools mental health support, saying the decision is ‘a big vote of confidence in our determination to tackle the mental health crisis in schools’. The 3-year pilot is one of only 25 across the country and should bring an extra £1.6 million in local funding but the MP has warned more still needs to be done to help young people and schools in dealing with mental health pressures.
The government funding has been announced to set up new mental health support teams for children and schools in Rotherham. It follows a survey carried out last year by John in schools in his Wentworth and Dearne constituency which exposed the rising level of student and staff mental health problems.
John said: “I pressed hard for this trailblazer bid when I met Schools Minister Nick Gibb with local headteachers before Christmas in Westminster.
“It’s great news for Rotherham and the funding is a big vote of confidence in our area. There’s no better place to pilot the Government’s new plans for education mental health teams, and as part of the scheme I want to see a counsellor in every school.
“My recent school’s mental health report highlighted the complexity of mental health problems faced by school staff and pupils on a daily basis and it is clear there is a mental health crisis in our schools. This support is welcome but the Government has to step up its action, which has so far been too slow and too small-scale.
“Congratulations must go to RDASH, Rotherham CCG and Rotherham Council for their combined efforts on securing a successful bid.”
All political parties have pledged to give mental health the same priority as physical health, yet there are now 5 000 fewer mental health nurses than in 2010 and more than 60% of NHS trusts saw cuts to mental health budgets between 2011/12 and 2016/17.
Following the report findings John is calling for:
- A counsellor for students in every secondary school, with similar shared support between local primary schools.
- Staff in every school to have access to counselling support
- Better referrals, shorter waiting times and lower rejection rates for specialist mental health services beyond the school, such as CAMHS
- Closer working and better understanding between education, health and social services
- Government give more urgent attention to mental health in schools, with funding to back the action required.
You can view the full report through the following link https://www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Schools-Mental-Health-Report.pdf