Referrals to child mental health units from UK primary schools for pupils aged 11 and under have risen by nearly 50% in three years, the BBC has learned according to the news article I read today.
Its a sad but true article however for me the part I find concerns me most is that teachers should know what to do……
As a teacher and lecturer although I get occasional training which touches on safeguarding and mental health is does not give me the answers or the powers to fix these issues…… our role is seen as immediate safeguarding and preservation of life and signposting.
Although there are services they are overstretches with long waiting lists and difficult to access, with overworked staff much in demand with the charity and voluntary sector picking up as much of the shortfall as they can.
This in addition to the stigma that young people face and the barriers to taking and sharing their feelings and emotions to others…… there needs to be much more focus on emotional intelligence, social and emotional support and mechanisms to look at not children’s behaviour and actions but beyond that to the cause and the emotions they are feeling rather than how they present or react to them. That is a huge aspect of my work.
Often young people and children don’t understand themselves why they react in particular ways or why but with tools and techniques I can through my work help them to become more aware, to consider their responses and actions and use strategies to help them to lead a better life and in less emotional anguish.