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CAMHS cuts blamed for rise in pupils with mental health problems

A survey from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) showed that nine out of 10 schools or colleges have had to provide more support to pupils with mental health problems over the last two years.

Half of those surveyed said they had seen an increase in the number of children in their school with mental health issues and 43% state that this is as a result of cuts to CAMHS services, which they said pupils are struggling to access. 

One secondary school head of department told the ATL that CAMHS is "completely overwhelmed". 
"Unless there is significant risk of harm to either the child or others there is pretty much no point contacting them,” the unnamed head of department said.

The majority called for an increase in time and resources to support this vulnerable group in schools as well as better training for school staff to support children with mental health issues.

Only 9% of those surveyed felt sufficiently trained to identify the signs of mental health issues. 1/3rd say that they had not been given any training in spotting mental health problems and 45% said the training they received was insufficient.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “It comes as no surprise that so many education professionals are feeling so utterly let down on all sides when it comes to support for children’s and young adults’ mental health.  The systematic stripping away of social services and CAMHS funding by the current government has left pupils dangerously at risk and, once again, it has been left to school staff to plug the gaps in social care as best they can.”