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A mental health crisis?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by lanokia, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Please note the question mark...

    This one might interest you @Eureka!

    Link to the BBC story

    Schools are having to make 999 calls to get treatment for pupils suffering from mental health problems because of service shortages, head teachers say.

    They are having to call ambulances or the police to get pupils to A&E for the help they need, they say.

    Some schools are being asked to pay for services for troubled pupils that should be provided by the NHS or social services, says the ASCL heads' union .

    The government said it had ring-fenced £1.4bn for children's mental health.

    I know my ex-employer made no provision for mental health although SLT paid lip service to it. I think the stress inherent in the education system is definitely playing a role. Obviously there are factors outside of that as well.
  2. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    That was my thought too before I left, more kids suffering from problems than I recall previously. There is a problem inherent in this in that like ADHD and other such labels that seem to have fallen from prominence recently, once you start to label it and look for it, it turns up all over the place, though of course it could mean it was previously there but unidentified.

    Certainly kids seemed generally more serious and less happy than I recalled them as being in the past, with more of them at the medical problem end of the spectrum.
    lanokia likes this.
  3. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I should have said ~ 'worsening' stress inherent in the education system ~

    It'd be more in line with my experiences.
  4. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    The amount of kids on medication and with mental health problems really was an eye opener to me. I also felt that the nature of the education system did contribute to these conditions. As a teacher, there is always the expectation to get the kids engaged. This leads to pressure to 'entertain' them, and change activities every 10-20 minutes. It always seemed to be about the next thing and the next thing - there is no time to dwell. No time to spend on one thing, do it over and over again and do it well. Kids have also expectations now that lessons have to be entertaining - if it is not, then it is not a 'good' lesson. Perhaps it's because they feel the need to be distracted from their own feelings of boredom and anxiety? As with teachers, pupils also always have hoops that they have to go through. This also gives rise to anxiety, as it does with teachers. The system always treats the symptoms of these conditions - by giving pills and booking them appointments with the counsellor. We become more reliant on external resources to deal with these problems. It all goes around in a cycle because the symptoms are treated but the root cause still remains.

    I do think that more can be done about the causes of some these conditions. More strategies could be given to deal with stress and negative emotions. Pupils could then be more mindful of these emotions and the 'triggers' which lead them to harm. They can then realise for themselves that negative emotions don't have to stand in their way and hinder their learning, if they change the way they relate to these feelings. Instead of popping pills, other things can be done. For example, learning a martial art can be beneficial for people with ADHD. Schools could slow down and be more relaxed and happier places, with the focus on the task at hand rather than the task after that. We can consider pupils as 'beings' rather than as vessels to be entertained or as data. We could instil a culture of seeing the value of education - rather than it being something to be consumed. A lot of the unnecessary pressures could be lifted from teachers, as happier teachers leads to happier pupils.

    I quickly came to realise, however, that none of these things will ever happen any time soon - which is partly why I left teaching altogether.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I have had growing concerns about the number of youngsters I felt might have mental health problems during my last few years in mainstream. No scope for easily getting anyone with more diagnostic skills than me to see them. (or for the school to give them an appropriate curriculum).
    Nationwide though, this is a problem. One of the papers I read recently was reporting a horrific lack of acute mental health beds in both public and private sectors. Our local MH unit closed down a few years ago. My gut feeling is that locally based treatment has got to be better than travelling for folk with lower end psychiatric problems.
    I have a feeling this could turn into another Big Problem for our penny pinching society.
  6. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    There has been much work done to reduce the stigma attached to mental health and we are encouraged to be more open about it. Although this is to be recommended, the reality still is, that disclosing mental health issues can have a negative impact on some careers.

    The services are reducing and reducing, despite publicity and a supposed increase in awareness and acceptance. It affects adults and it affects young people and there is insufficient understanding and support to make a positive difference.
    snowyhead likes this.
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    It would be a brave or foolish teacher these days who disclosed a mental health issue to their line manager when they didn't need to. The system is toxic, it creates issues and then punishes people for having them.
    Flere-Imsaho, lanokia and cissy3 like this.
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I think there has always been a mental health crisis in education. It's only recently that people have started to explore the effect a mental health condition can have on attainment and overall well-being. For far too long poor mental health has been associated with low intelligence and under performance at school, with children branded as 'remedial', 'out of control' or 'unteachable'.

    As we have seen from many posts on Workplace Dilemmas anyone can be affected by workplace stress and the dire toll it has on mental health.

    Education Endowment Fund have several research projects under way looking at resilience training in primary schools, social and emotional aspects of learning and coping mechanisms.

    My greatest wish is that society starts to give mental health the same status as physical health and that no one is allowed to feel that having a mental health condition makes them a second-class citizen.
    Didactylos4 and Mangleworzle like this.
  9. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Even in my schooldays it was obvious that being a teacher could be very stressful. The ones I felt sorry for were the weakest student teachers. A biology student-teacher looked like a nerd and had a lisp. I'm sure there would be a way to carry it off, but not at 21 or so (less likel anyway)! Hopefully that source of strain is less now as classes tend to watch their PC Ps and Qs?

    If a student is in poorly mental health then I should think school, being an intense sort of place, will likely magnify problems manifold. School also generates its unique stress on students - exam stress,of course.
  10. Treefayre2

    Treefayre2 Established commenter

    And that's before we count the staff toll I presume.

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