Commenting on the Children’s Commissioner’s annual children’s mental health report, published today (Thursday 30 January), Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said:
“Schools are on the frontline when it comes to children’s mental health, but school staff are not qualified medical specialists, nor should they be expected to be. Where schools consider that a pupil’s needs go beyond their experience and expertise, their role is to refer those pupils to other professionals to address those needs, and they should be able to expect timely and effective support. However, the capacity of children’s and young people’s mental health services is insufficient to support the children referred to them, particularly at an early stage.
“Getting help as early as possible is vital when it comes to mental health, otherwise there’s a risk that a young person’s situation will become a crisis. The access to and quality of children’s mental health services across the country must be consistent. All children deserve timely and high-quality support and treatment when they need it; this should not be a postcode lottery.”
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