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NAHT comments on impact of Covid-19 on children’s mental health

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 Commenting on a new survey into children’s mental health concerns by children’s mental health charity Anna Freud, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Teachers and school leaders are concerned about impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on children’s mental health; they have seen the effects of lockdown on their students. There is a significant challenge for schools moving forward to support children’s recovery and wellbeing and to repair any damage done to their mental health.

“Schools play a vital role in promoting good mental health and emotional wellbeing amongst pupils of all ages. All school staff should receive high quality training to do this and to ensure that they are well placed to identify emerging mental health needs of pupils and can support and manage pupils with mental health needs in the school environment.

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“But teachers and leaders are not mental health specialists. Some pupils need additional, more targeted support from specialist services. Unfortunately, these services were stretched even before the pandemic, having been as starved of funding as education over the last decade.

“The pandemic places even greater urgency on the calls NAHT has been making for additional resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, including increased capacity of social care, health and other services to meet the growing demand and to reduce waiting times.

“Schools cannot be the only place children or their families are able to turn for help with mental health. All the resources and services that should be there to help need to be operating efficiently and effectively together. We would urge the government to invest in children’s mental health now, or risk failing young people just as they most need help.”

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