Conservatives’ mental health proposals are just sticking plasters

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Press release
08 May 2017 by ATL Media Office
Theresa May’s proposals to teach children more about mental wellbeing are too little and chronically unambitious says Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted.

Commenting on the Conservatives’ plans to expand mental health first aid training into primary schools and teach children more about mental wellbeing, Mary Bousted said: “Far fewer school children would have mental health problems if they were not facing the stress of high stakes testing and had a more appropriate curriculum which was not increasingly focussed on passing exams.

“Teaching children more about mental wellbeing and expanding mental health first aid training into primary schools alone are just sticking plasters against the scale of the problem created by the Conservative Government. Its policies have helped create the conditions which are putting increasing numbers of children under huge stress, with more families reliant on food banks, families struggling to find housing, families going into debt and parents working two jobs to make ends meet.

“And the Government has pulled the rug out from under youngsters with mental health issues by cutting funding for local government child and young people’s mental health services and not giving schools enough funding for pastoral care.

“Promising to expand mental health first aid into all schools and teaching children about mental wellbeing will do little unless they are properly funded and the Conservatives tackle the underlying causes of children’s mental ill-health.”

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Pupil mental health