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Every teacher must be trained in mental health first aid, academy chain says

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘An academy chain is planning to train all its staff as mental health first-aiders.

    The E-Act multi-academy trust, which comprises 25 primary and secondary schools, will also be launching its own mental health curriculum, intended to ensure that all pupils understand the issues that may affect them.

    The trust’s chief executive, David Moran, has chosen to finance the scheme – which will cost £420,000 annually – from E-Act’s central coffers, because he believes that good mental health is vital if pupils are to be able to learn.

    E-Act’s internal surveys show that almost a third of its pupils feel stressed most or all of the time. And more than 130 pupils said they were anxious or worried most or all of the time with more than 100 often feeling down, depressed, hopeless or teary.’


    What do you think about teachers being trained as mental health first-aiders and the multi-academy trust launching its own mental health curriculum? Do you think the Trust’s plans will really help to make children more aware of their own mental health?

    Is this counselling on the cheap, at the expense of teachers who already have enough pressure and heavy workloads in their jobs or do you think this is a novel approach to dealing with young people suffering from mental health problems? Do you think that the mental health of teachers should be dealt with first before they try to help pupils?
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It is good to see an organisation recognising the importance of pupil mental heath. I hope that they also consider the mental health of their employees.
    All teachers need to be aware of mental health, and ways of teaching to promote positive mental health or minimise mental health damage. The actual talking to children doesn't fit easily in the typical working day. In the past, I have spoken with unhappy children during my free periods and at break and lunch time, and referred them to people with the time and expertise to help. In the same way that if a child cuts themselves or sprains their ankle in a lesson, you would pack them off to the proper first aider, I think the same capacity needs to exist for mental health problems.
    TCSC47, cazzmusic1 and Lalad like this.
  3. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Unfortunately the words "Every" and "must" will make alot of colleagues wonder. The academy chain would be able to tick a box and move responsibility down to the proles.

    £ 420 000 every year to do this training. I wonder if the training company has already been picked if they can give a price already? I do hope it was put out to tender openly...
  4. zizzyballoon

    zizzyballoon Star commenter

    I think all schools should have the funds to employ full time, specialist, properly trained mental health workers and counsellors. Obviously teachers should be helped to recognise the signs of poor mental health in pupils but they should be able to refer them to specialists who have the time and training to help them. Teachers have enough to cope with already with their teaching loads and attendant responsibilities without being required to become 'mental health first aiders'.
  5. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    £420,000 per year. Imagine how many hours of counselling from a fully trained, experienced counsellor that could buy?

    After about 3 years, the MAT will stop the funding, suddenly teachers will be held to account if the stresses and strains get too much for a child.

    How much more do teachers have to be responsible for?
  6. zizzyballoon

    zizzyballoon Star commenter

    Yes. This. How much more responsibility before their backs are completely broken?
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Would make me decide not to work for them, especially for the reasons outlined above (by SSS).

    FWIW l refused offers of First Aid Training because l knew having it would make me more responsible, should anything happen.

    My solution? Appoint properly qualified professionals. Simple.
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Just wondering how myself and so many others made it through school without all the pastoral care and touchy feely stuff.
  9. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    E-Act....... oh boy...... doubt somehow that £420K is coming out of his salary...
  10. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Ah yes, the "I didn't need it so nobody did" approach to thinking. Small picture.
    TCSC47 and ilovesooty like this.
  11. GladRagsAtMidnight2017

    GladRagsAtMidnight2017 Occasional commenter

    Surely we all know the kids that have (possible) mental health issues, and we are already dealing with them day-in, day-out whilst they wait (forever) to access help via CAMHS? I don't read this as staff being counsellors, that's not a first-aid thing, but just having further knowledge to deal with the children in a more effective way. Same as having knowledge of SEN.
    TCSC47 and Lalad like this.
  12. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Did E-ACT put a bid in for the funding or did DfE allocate £x per child?

    How much of the £420K will be spent directly on children, how much will be "spread" about to companies etc?

    BUT if they got Place2Be in, that would be beneficial.


    When I worked in London, the school had input from Place2Be and I found them excellent.

    Over 20 years ago, I volunteered with Compass Counselling in Liverpool. They specialised with adults at the time, I'm not sure if they include services for children now though.


    Both of these are very inspiring and effective organisations.
  13. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Funding a School nurse to come in even once a term is beyond some schools!

    They get them in once a year for the flu vaccinations- but only to mitigate against the dreaded drop in attendance figures!
  14. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I am no longer teaching, but if I were, I would be tempted to decline any offer for this training. Why? Suppose you see someone collapse in the street. You attempt to help them as best you can. You then open yourself up to potential legal action if anything happens as a result, because however well-intentioned, you are not a professional first responder. Litigation is big business today.

    If the money is meant to train the teachers to recognise the signs and symptoms, that's fair enough. But surely, all any teacher could actually do, is to offer a little 'tea and sympathy', and make sure it gets passed up the food chain to someone with the proper professional training to deal with it.

    I don't envy teachers today. It feels too much like being the little Dutch boy with his finger in the hole in the dyke wall. :(
    JohnJCazorla and slingshotsally like this.
  15. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    And maybe that is what needs to change if this 'initiative' is to be more than window dressing!
    TCSC47 and slingshotsally like this.
  16. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Couldn't put it better myself.
  17. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Urban myth - see Good Samaritan Law.
    les25paul likes this.
  18. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I bet he has shares in the training company!
  19. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Will the non teaching staff get the £7 per month extra that theyt would get for being a regular 1st aider? (Teachers can be first aiders but don't get the extra money, or at least they didn't in Brum).
  20. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Sorry, but I wouldn't want to be the one who got to put that to the test.
    letap likes this.

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