The Department of Health announced earlier this year the government were contributing £200k to help teachers understand and identify mental health issues in children. Whilst it has long been a legal requirement to have a first aider on site at schools, there has never been a legal requirement to have anyone trained to deal with mental health issues. The new programme delivered by the social enterprise Mental Health First Aid will start by training 1000 staff and by year 2 and 3 of the programme all secondary schools in England will have a mental health first aider. Staff will be trained to spot and deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, suicide and psychosis, self-harm, and eating disorders.
This new programme has been derived from shocking research which shows one out of ten school-aged children will have a mental condition at any present time. Furthermore, half of all mental health conditions begin prior to the age of 14.
However, whilst it is and excellent initiative for schools to have this support system from an early age, it is also important employers continue this care. At AFL we are currently reviewing our employee wellness scheme to see if there is more we can do as a company to improve our staffs well-being.