Charity calls for more mental health support in schools


1 in 5 children have symptoms of depression, and almost a third (32%) have thought about or attempted suicide before they were 16, according to a report from the new mental health charity, MindFull.

A new report which reveals that nearly two thirds of young people believe adding information on mental health to the national curriculum and training teachers would be effective ways to tackle the mental health crisis in the UK

As a result, MindFull is calling for mental health to be embedded as a core theme in the national curriculum and for schools to provide access to counselling and mentor support for all young people who need it.

Emma-Jane Cross, CEO and founder of MindFull said: “Too many children who try to speak out about the way they’re feeling are being let down or simply ignored. It’s unacceptable that so many are having to resort to harming themselves on purpose in order to cope, or worse still are thinking about ending their own lives. Early intervention is proven to help prevent adult mental health problems, so swift action must be taken now if we are to avoid a legacy of serious long-term mental illness."

Children are most likely to speak to their friends about mental health issues, underlining the importance of peer support. Of those that spoke to someone, most confided in a friend (57%), followed by parents (54%) and a face-to-face counsellor (32%). Just 2% of young people said medicine alone is the best way to treat mental health issues, and over two thirds (68%) think that putting mental health services online would be an effective way to tackle mental health issues among young people.

Negative thoughts and feelings have a huge impact on children’s lives. The survey shows that nearly a third (29%) have self-harmed because they feel ‘down’. Over half (52%) of those who had shown signs of depression as children felt let down by their experiences of mental health support. On average, those children who showed symptoms of depression** and talked to more than one person, ended up speaking to people 22 times before they got help. Almost half (47%) of young people with depression never got the help they wanted.

Professor Tanya Byron, President of The BB Group and Chartered Clinical Psychologist said: “Just as we look after our children’s physical health, it’s vital that we also offer support for their mental wellbeing. Children and young people are clearly not getting the help they need, that’s why this new online support from MindFull is so important. Teenagers naturally look to the internet as a source of information and advice, so that’s where we need to be in order to help the hundreds of thousands of young people who are currently getting no support.”

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