Children’s untreated mental health issues could spiral into psychiatric problems later in life unless more is done in schools, say head teachers.
The National Association of Head Teachers says with a fifth of children having a mental health problem before age 11, it is a key concern.
A snapshot survey of 1,455 English heads suggests two-thirds of primary schools cannot deal with such issues.
The government says it has ring-fenced £1.4bn for children’s mental health.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the heads’ union, NAHT, says: “We know the government is determined to improve children’s mental health but there’s still a danger that some children will take untreated mental problems into adulthood.”
Mr Hobby said three-quarters of school leaders had reported that they lacked the resources needed to provide the kind of mental health care that children need.
“Although increasingly common inside secondary schools, almost two-thirds of primary school leaders say that it is difficult to access local mental health professionals,” he said.
“Schools play a vital role in supporting children’s mental health and building their resilience – but rising demand, growing complexity and tight budgets can get in the way of helping the children who need it most”.
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