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Scottish Conservatives call for a national programme of mental health teacher-training

14 May 2018

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At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, the Scottish Conservatives have called for a commitment from the Scottish Government to a national programme of mental health teacher-training and an improvement in counselling services in secondary schools.

This approach endorses that of the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) who have also requested that all school staff have mental health training.

The Scottish Conservatives would ensure that mental health training is provided to teachers both before and after they qualify.

In 2005 the Scottish Government promised mental health training for teachers but there is still no comprehensive programme.

A recent survey by SAMH found that two thirds of teachers do not feel they have received sufficient training to carry out their role properly.

The Scottish Conservatives are also renewing previous calls to improve counselling services in secondary schools as provision across Scotland is patchy and trailing behind the other parts of the UK.

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative Mental Health spokesman said:

“Research shows that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes.

“We simply cannot afford to be complacent about our approach to mental health.

“We need to improve how we detect mental health problems, supporting those in front line positions and giving them the confidence to recognise and refer young people to the appropriate places.

“We must recognise the incredibly important role teachers take in the lives of young people and support them in navigating the web of where to signpost pupils.

“That is why I am calling for a commitment from the Scottish Government to a national programme of mental health teacher-training.

“And I am repeating our calls for counselling services in secondary schools, as this is an area where Scotland is still trailing behind the other parts of the UK.

“We have to do everything possible to help people avoid the anguish and helplessness that accompanies undiagnosed mental illness.

“These simple steps to facilitate early diagnosis and intervention will begin to get sufferers and their families the help they need.”