CAMHS cuts to blame for rise in pupils' mental health problems

Cuts to CAMHS have been identified as a major factor in the rise in mental health problems among pupils over the last two years, according to a new survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

The research, which surveyed more than 850 education professionals, found 90 per cent of them who said their workplace has had to provide more support to pupils with mental health issues and when asked for their opinions, many blamed cuts to CAMHS as a significant hindrance to helping children in difficulty.

Nearly half of respondents believed these services have become more difficult to access in the last two years, while only five per cent said it was easier over the same period.

One secondary school head of department told ATL that CAMHS was completely "overwhelmed" and "unless there is significant risk of harm to either the child or others, there is pretty much no point contacting them".

Nearly 60 per cent of education professionals said their school or college did not devote enough time and resources to tackling mental health issues and just nine per cent of school staff said they felt sufficiently trained to identify the signs of mental health problems in pupils.

More than 30 per cent of respondents said they were given no training to help identify potential issues while 45 per cent felt the training they received was insufficient.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: "It comes as no surprise that so many education professionals are feeling so utterly let down on all sides when it comes to support for children's and young adults' mental health. The systematic stripping away of social services and CAMHS funding by the current government has left pupils dangerously at risk and, once again, it has been left to school staff to plug the gaps in social care as best they can."

Read the full results of the survey here