New guidance helps teachers to identify bad behaviour from poor mental health

June 16, 2014 3:55 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

New guidance published will help teachers better identify mental health problems in young people. This means that fewer pupils will be wrongly labelled as trouble-makers.

A 2012 Centre for Mental Health report estimates around 15% of pupils aged 5 to 16 have mental health problems that put them at increased risk of developing more serious issues in the future. The new guidance will help young people get the help they need at an earlier stage.

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The guidance, created by the Department for Education in consultation with head teachers, mental health professors and the Department of Health, is designed to ensure teachers are confident in finding help for at-risk pupils.

The guidance also outlines what schools can do to provide a stable non-stigmatising environment for their pupils. This includes:

  • clear bullying and behaviour policies;
  • working with parents and carers as well as pupils;
  • introducing peer mentoring systems; and
  • discussing mental health issues as part of the wider curriculum.

Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb said:

"I am determined to improve services for children and young people who have mental health problems, which is why we are improving access to treatment. Teachers can make a huge difference to the lives of young people and I hope this guidance will help them make sure children get the help they need."