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Providing mental health support for children and young people in schools

24 June 2021
6 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 12

Abstract

Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, discusses a new initiative from NHS England/NHS Improvement to improve mental health support for children and young people in schools

 

It is now clear that children and young people of school age are susceptible to changes in their mental health caused directly or indirectly by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The actions necessary to slow the spread of the virus have caused major disruption to children's school and home lives over the past year.

The roles of schools in mitigating these psychological effects of the pandemic are vital in protecting children from the long-term consequences of this societal catastrophe. The NHS now aspires to accelerate its mental health support for children and young people and in May 2021, in recognition of the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of children and young people, it was announced that more than a million children were to be given access to NHS mental health support at school (NHS England/NHS Improvement, 2021a).

The NHS England report shows that mental health issues among children in England aged 5–16 years have risen from one in 10 in 2017 to around one in six in the summer of 2020. More than one in four children has had trouble sleeping while one in 10 often or always felt lonely during the pandemic.

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