MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOLS ROLLED OUT NATIONALLY

A programme to improve mental health training in schools and strengthen partnerships with professional NHS services will be rolled out nationally.

Under the £9.3 million scheme, announced by the Department for Education today, every school, college and alternative provision will receive training through a series of workshops as part of the Link Programme alongside mental health specialists.

The scheme, led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, will be rolled out in phases over the next four years, beginning this September, and is expected to reach 22,000 schools and colleges.

A further 1,500 schools and colleges have already taken up the training during the pilot stage of the programme, launched in 2015.

The DfE said the Link Programme will deliver just under 1,000 training sessions in England, featuring two-day workshops for selected staff members from 20 schools at a time. Training will be prioritised in the 25 areas already attached to mental health support teams.

Another 124 mental health support teams will be created in 48 areas across the country, each of which will support around 20 schools. The teams will speed up access to specialist services and build on support already available for young people, and focus on early intervention for pupils with mild to moderate mental health needs.

However, the timeframe for the scheme has faced criticism. In January, the NHS Long Term Plan said that, by 2023-24, an extra 345,000 children will be able to access mental health support via local health services and new school-based mental health support teams.

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