Lib Dems call to address mental ill health in schools

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Garth Harkness will be proposing a motion on Wednesday 11th July 2018 addressing issues around young people’s mental ill health. The motion will be seconded by Shadow cabinet member for education and Shaw Councillor, Hazel Gloster

Councillor Garth Harkness has been working with MIND to improve mental health understanding in Saddleworth along with financing mental health courses for residents in Saddleworth and young people of the Saddeworth youth committee to increase awareness, identify warning signs and promote self-resilience.

Councillor Garth Harkness said “I have been working on mental health in my own school around mental health strategy and policy. The problem is huge all staff need training, there needs to be mental health first aiders in schools with clear guidelines for staff and a designated mental health lead . Approximately 10% of 5-16 year-olds have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder. A further 15% of 5-16 year-olds have problems that put them at risk of developing mental health problems.”

Shaw Councillor Hazel Gloster said “We need to ensure all schools promote resilience, mindfulness and positive mental health along with skills to manage social and emotional difficulties to be taught in the curriculum. The government have talked about mental health but they still don’t back it enough and kids don’t get enough help until it is way down the line. Early help is the key”

“Recent calls from government have called for more work to be done on supporting young people with mental health difficulties and also possibly include this in future inspection regimes.”

Councillor Garth Harkness added I welcome the work done by the Health and Wellbeing board and the employment of a mental health school advisor but I know waiting times for adults with mental health difficulties are bad enough but they are horrendous for children!  Schools need to be clear on where to signpost children to self-help and explore school councillors and in house help”

Wednesday 11th July 2018 – Notice of Opposition Business –

Motion  – Addressing Mental Ill-Health in Schools

This Council notes that:

In March 2016 the Department of Education produced advice for school staff titled ‘Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools’ this guidance identified that:

  1. Approximately 10% of 5-16 year-olds have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder.
  2. A further 15% of 5-16 year-olds have problems that put them at risk of developing mental health problems.
  • Recent calls from government have called for more work to be done on supporting young people in schools with mental health difficulties and also possibly including this as an assessed component of future inspection regimes.

Council welcomes the:

  • Recent plan adopted by Oldham’s Health and Wellbeing Board to transform the borough’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) by employing additional staff to bring down waiting times to six weeks.
  • Employment of a specialist mental health school advisor.

Council believes that an aspiration to ensure positive mental health and well-being in the students and staff of all of our academies, colleges and schools should be a high priority, and that we should support them to each have:

  • an appropriate strategy in place
  • a designated Mental Health Lead to coordinate, and monitor, the delivery of that strategy
  • Mental health First Aiders in each academic year group to provide first-hand immediate support
  • Mental health Peer Mentors where appropriate
  • Access to mindfulness and similar programmes
  • Access to professional Counsellors in the secondary and tertiary sectors

The strategy of every educational establishment should focus on:

  • Promoting positive mental health in all students and staff
  • Training staff and peer mentors so they are aware of common mental health conditions; the signs of, and risk factors for, mental ill-health; how they might support students in crisis or otherwise in need; and the support services available to these students and their families
  • Promoting self-help strategies and online resources (such as those relating to personal resilience and mindfulness) to students and staff to enable them to better manage their own mental health

Council resolves to ask the Lead Cabinet Member(s) to work with the Health and Well-being Board to determine how these aspirations can be made a reality, and provide a report back to full Council on progress made within 12 months.

Proposed by.    Cllr Garth Harkness                          Seconded by .Cllr Hazel Gloster

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