A huge increase in the number of mental health counsellors in schools represents a major opportunity for suppliers

The number of mental health counsellors in schools has almost doubled in the past three years according to a survey released by the National Association of Head Teachers.

From such help being available in around only one third of schools in 2016, the support is available in two thirds of schools now.  And it seems the number is set to rise further.

Not surprisingly, at the same time there has been a huge leap in the number of school leaders who feel confident that they can recognise the signs of mental health issues among pupils and students – with around three quarters saying they fall into this group.

Of course not everything is sorted in terms of mental health, for very few school leaders felt that their local mental health support services were able to respond quickly enough when called in.

But on the other hand, the 2017 Green Paper on improving mental health provision for young people seems to have had an impact.

New support teams have been created, and senior school leaders are often at the forefront of initiatives thus ensuring that the introduction of new services is far more than a mere box ticking exercise.

The next step, highlighted by the government, is the proposed introduction of mental health first aid training to all teachers this year and a much anticipated and very overdue increase in the NHS budget for children’s mental health.

However, Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said that the NHS was still a long way from offering fulsome and adequate mental health support for all children in the country.

There is, however, a growing recognition at last of the huge importance of early intervention, and there are warnings that teachers are of course not qualified in the provision of suitable medical support to children whose mental health needs it.

The Local Government Association has asked for £90m to be provided to schools in England so that every pupil in secondary schools has rapid access to counselling.

Certainly, the current climate is one in which any organisation providing materials and resources for mental health support, or relevant information for teachers about mental health, is liable to be well received by schools.

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