Teachers are being trained to help them recognise and respond to the early warning signs of mental health problems in children and young people, with a form of first aid.
Community interest company Mental Health First Aid England is preparing teachers from across the borough to quickly spot the signs of a child in distress and to know how to support them.
The goal of the government-funded programme is to put mental health ‘first aiders’ in every school because it is believed one in eight children and young people in the UK have a diagnosed mental health problem. It can range from depression and anxiety to suicide and psychosis, self-harm, and eating disorders.
Two staff members from every school is eligible to receive the training, regardless of whether it is a high school or a primary school. More training is set to take place across England between September and February – and it is open to all schools and colleges that have not already received it for their staff.
Providing skills to help schools support children
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for schools and children’s services, said: “This programme can help staff from each school to receive the skills needed to identify and support children struggling with mental illness.
“We are pleased to be involved in preparing our teachers to help young people and children get the support they need.”
To find out more about mental health first aid, visit mhfaengland.org
Pants rule to stay safe
Meanwhile, primary schools across Ealing are using the NSPCC’s ‘PANTS’ rule to teach child about keeping safe, including what parts of the body are private and who to talk to if they are worried or scared.
Each letter in the acronym PANTS corresponds to a statement about keeping safe, making it easy for children to remember, and it is done with the help of a friendly dinosaur called Pantosaurus.
For more details, visit www.nspcc.org.uk