Three in five young people have either experienced a mental health problem themselves, or are close to someone who has, according to new research by Mind.
The survey also shows that one in seven (14%) young people say their mental health is currently poor or very poor and 38% of all pupils said they wouldn’t know where to go to access support within school.
‘We spoke to thousands of young people to try to better understand the scale of poor mental health across secondary schools in England and Wales,’ said Louise Clarkson, Head of Children and Young People at Mind.
‘There were some really positive findings, with most pupils saying that, on the whole, they thought their schools believed good mental health was important and promoted wellbeing. But we also heard from many young people experiencing problems with their mental health. Despite the high levels of poor mental health among young people, many are not accessing support and those that are aren’t always getting what they need.’
The survey also found that half of pupils said they wouldn’t feel confident approaching teachers or other school staff if they needed help, while around one in five young people had accessed support for their mental health within school. Of these, 43% said they didn’t find the support helpful and two in three said they weren’t involved in decisions made about that support.
‘It’s not schools at fault – we know they are under increasing pressure to provide wellbeing support for pupils at a time of rising demand and gaps in NHS mental health services,’ added Ms Clarkson. ‘We know that many are doing the best job they can with limited resources and staff need the right expertise and support from other parts of the system. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement about training for teachers is welcome but it’s only one part of the picture – school staff need to know that if they are starting conversations about mental health with a young person, there are services in place to refer them onto.’