All schools and colleges in Wirral will be offered mental health training as part of the national plan to provide more ‘joined up’ care.
Using £9 million from the Department for Education, mental health training will be rolled out from September and provided through workshops bringing together school and college staff and NHS professionals. It will raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.
The new Chair of Wirral’s Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Wendy Clements (Conservative, Greasby, Frankby, Irby Ward), said: “Bringing school and college staff from across Wirral into the same room as NHS professionals, and encouraging them to work together, will ensure more pupils and students get the right support at the right time.
“With half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders beginning by the age of 14, bridging the gap between education and NHS services is vital if we are to ensure all children in Wirral get the best possible start in life.”
The announcement is part of the wider programme to support young people’s mental health, which includes an additional £1.4 billion investment and the introduction of compulsory health education lessons from 2020.
Starting later this year, the Government will also publish a ‘State of the Nation’ report every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being.
This is the first time that children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment.
And, from 2020, pupils will receive mandatory health education lessons. This will ensure pupils are taught about the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, what determines their physical health and how to build mental resilience and wellbeing.
It will also make sure children and young people learn how to recognise when they and others are struggling with mental health and how to respond.