1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Every school should have a teacher trained in Mental Health First Aid'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    mamorgandr likes this.
  2. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Not the job of teachers.Just another workload area...call in the professionals to do the job and let us teach.Its why we have SENCO's and child protection officers...to refer such cases further up the chain.
    Besides who pays for this 'person' and are they teaching or none teaching...never mind the cost implications and the paper work involved.
    Teachers certainly are aware of the needs of their pupils..........but the should just be referral points and then call in those who know how to deal with the problems.
    indusant, wanet, TCSC47 and 2 others like this.
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    So a 2 day course for someone (who then trains other teachers!)
    Box ticked - nothing happens because...

    ... there is no time to implement the required MH strategies of Talking and Listening to the student. there is nowhere/ few experts to refer student to (austerity).

    ....this is just a way of pretending to provide mental health care (on the cheap)

    Put the funding into expanding all expert mental health care.

    The DFE Mental Health Champion doesn't seem bright enough to see this.
  4. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I'm trained in Mental Health First Aid - it was quite interesting, but I'm not sure how it helped me or the students. Like with ASD, once you start to know about symptoms, etc., as a layperson, you start to see them everywhere.

    There was a Radio 4 programme about mental health that I caught one day, and a chap said that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia because he started to make judgements about people with personalised number plates. Before that I didn't realise that I had a mental illness.
    cissy3 and wanet like this.
  5. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    Having one person in a school to deal with these problems is simply not enough. It will be used as a token gesture to mask the deeper issues. It seems that there are wider and more pertinent questions to ask here. One surely must be 'what is the cause of these mental health problems?' A long term goal must be to treat those causes, and not just the symptoms.

    It's interesting that the mental health champion for schools uses the phrase 'When I am Queen of Everything'. It may have been intended as a kind of glib comment, but it is this kind of attitude that is part of the problem. Everyone expects to be King or Queen of the world. It's a narcissistic attitude that has been promoted throughout modern society. Children are raised to expect to be indulged, as they will one day be King or Queen, and that their way is always best. It's interesting that more and more people seem to be unhappy in a time when they are encouraged to be self centered. It seems that the age of entitlement brings disappointment, as reality can not match self centered demands.

    In actuality, I believe that you are happier when you are less egotistical and 'self' centered. But this is just one of the myriad of things causing unhappiness today. Until we treat those causes, the symptoms will remain. But, I suspect that a sea change in values, attitudes, parenting etc will need to occur to have any lasting impact.
  6. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Excellent idea, but wouldn't it be a good idea for the students as well? Well, somebody had to make the joke, didn't they?

    Being serious, my wife is a retired psychiatric nurse who used to work in our local community NHS Crisis team. I remember her telling me that you had to have specially trained and experienced nurses to deal with under 16's because it was so difficult, in her words, to "be able to tell if they were acting out or not." In other words the normal behaviour of an adolescent is difficult to comprehend even for the experts!

    Also, I quote from the article -

    "There is a misconception which still pervades most social and work environments that mental health must not be addressed by non-professionals. Many believe that to do so would be to run the risk of saying "the wrong thing" or that those with mental health issues are automatically unpredictable and dangerous and therefore best avoided."

    I would ask if the author, Ms. Devon, has had to walk into a house and find someone hanging from the doorway, like my wife has had to?

    Reading on through the article, it seems to me that Ms. Devon is only advocating that all we do is listen to the child if they are exhibiting any stress problems and call for help. The irony of the article is that Ms. Dixon works for the Department of Education as their "Health champion". It is down to the Dept. of Ed. that so much workload has been dumped on teachers that they have lost many of the common sense skills or the time to deal with it that we used to have.

    Simple solution though. Add the tick box to the OFSTED form. That'll sort it!
    lizziescat and cissy3 like this.
  7. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Well, if the CAMH and youth psychiatric services hadn't been cut, out of school education hadn't been cut we wouldn't need to consider this.
    It's just another stick to beat teachers with and drive out those head teachers who don't just implement heavy handed initiatives in the cheapest way possible.
    To my knowledge, there are counties where there is not a single specialist psychiatrist left.
    Again, in my county the entire EOTAS service has gone, PRUs shut, there are no hospital tutors for children who have illnesses or self-inflicted injuries or substance abuse issues.
    Again, we need to be bringing these articles to the attention of our MPs and asking what they intend to do about it.
    We have to have a professional to refer students to in case the child's neurosis is borne of abuse at home. There will be no case to answer if we go poking our noses in.
    lizziescat and TCSC47 like this.
  8. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    oh dear..i hope its not true.but i so love the retort on the end .Thank you
    cissy3 likes this.
  9. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    That made me LOL :p (Sorry to interrupt a seirous topic)
  10. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    Apologies. Serious.
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Back in the day, we had a variety of counsellors working with the troubled youngsters in school. I suspect mental health was on the list of reasons kids went to see them. They seemed to slowly disappear out of the system.
  12. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I've always assumed anyone who spends good money on a personalised number plate DID suffer from a mental illness.
    delnon and cissy3 like this.
  13. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Leave mental health to mental health professionals. In my experience as a teacher and parent of a child with a serious mental health condition, a teacher with a little knowledge could end up doing more harm than good.
    delnon, stupot101, indusant and 2 others like this.
  14. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    delnon and stupot101 like this.
  15. clairei87

    clairei87 New commenter

    "MHFA isn’t a substitute for high-quality PSHE or for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, but it provides a valuable bridge between the two. The methodologies and language used allow teaching professionals to feel less helpless around mental illness.."

    I think it is a good idea. I think the point is for in emergencies, if you find a child in a crisis, it is helpful to have someone who has some idea what they're doing to help try and keep them safe or calm until a professional can be contacted or arrives. You wouldn't necessarily disagree with teachers giving first aid for a broken ankle, so why shouldn't we have training for this situation?

    Surely our jobs are to keep children safe and feeling safe - as far as possible.
    Meganshaw96 likes this.
  16. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    If you find a child with a broken ankle you dial '999'. You don't try to treat it. You leave it to the professionals (unless the child is in a perilous situation, of course). Now most mental illnesses in mainstream schools are not like a broken limb, and so there is nothing useful a slightly trained teacher can do, except involve appropriate professionals. And that happens already, in my experience.

    This is box ticking, as has been said.
    snowyhead and indusant like this.
  17. coppull

    coppull New commenter

    The standard reply HT and SMT to this sort of job is It will be good for your career development,but we cannot afford to pay you any money. Remember HT and SMT are responsible under the Health, Safety and Welfare of staff under 1974 Act. Many of these staff ignore this Act because it does not help their career development. HT and SMT do not care about the mental health of their staff,why should care about the mental health of the children.
    snowyhead likes this.
  18. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    Two days of training may equip you with some basic knowledge of mental health conditions. It doesn't equip you with the direct experience of dealing with them. There are endless subtleties and nuances that the professionals in such matters have spent years dealing with. That awareness and experience can not be transferred overnight.

    Whilst increasing awareness of mental health conditions is a good thing, it's going too far when we have people with only a basic knowledge training other people. Doing a two day course does not make you an authority on the subject. We can end up with a 'chinese whispers' scenario and it becomes a breeding ground for misinformation. When dealing with mental health, the consequences can be severe.

    It does smack of wanting to do it 'on the cheap'. This is one area where corners should not be cut. If 'Mental Health First Aid' is to be provided, then making sure that it is of the highest quality would be a better aim. If Ms. Devon is going to be 'Queen of the everything' anyway, why not aim higher?
  19. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    When GPs and clinics start teaching maths and english, schools can start dealing with health issues.

    More to the point, most schools are already strapped for cash. Is the government going to pay for the cost of implementing this? Didn't think so.

    Of course, the solution is for teachers to completely fund this out of their own money and time. After all, if one can believe the government adverts, after a few years they are earning a good whack, and everybody knows that they have loads of time to spare, only working classroom hours and with 12 weeks holiday.
    delnon likes this.
  20. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Not a word here about teachers needing to have empathy. Its very difficult for some people to develop and an essential quality for anyone getting to grips with people's mental health.
    snowyhead likes this.

Share This Page