ASCL comment on the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition’s Members’ Report 2021

03/11/2021
Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition’s Members’ Report 2021, which calls for urgent action to plug the gaps in children and young people’s mental health support. 
 
Commenting on the publication of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition’s Members’ Report 2021, which calls for urgent action to plug the gaps in children and young people’s mental health support, Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“The severe disruption to education caused by the pandemic has pushed an already precarious position regarding the availability of mental health support for young people to the point of crisis, as highlighted in this report.
 
“Poor wellbeing is contributing to ongoing attendance challenges and schools and colleges recognise this will have an inevitable effect on outcomes among the young people affected. Schools and colleges are reporting an exponential rise in cases of eating disorders and anxiety, as well as worrying behaviours around personal harm.
 
“The rollout of mental health support teams, which should be playing a critical role in supporting, triaging and referring on cases, has meanwhile been far too slow to date to stem the rising tide of poor mental health outcomes.
 
“We are also hearing that unless the needs of young people are recognised as being acute and in crisis, referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service can take years rather than months.
 
“The paucity of specialist support available to students means there is a real danger of the situation in schools and colleges being normalised by the sheer numbers affected. This would be catastrophic for these young people, as well as having severe consequences for education attainment.
 
“The government needs to do significantly more in the provision of practical support for mental health if it is to prevent a steady rise in cases becoming an epidemic in our schools and colleges.”