Education and Health Committees’ report on children and young people’s mental health – the role of education

The Health Committee and the Education Committee published their joint report on Children and young people’s mental health – the role of education, on Tuesday 2 May.

This inquiry follows two recent reports on children and young people’s mental health by the Health and Education Committees. In 2014, the then Health Committee published a report on Children’s and adolescents’ mental health and Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and last year, the Education Committee reported on the Mental health and well-being of looked after children.

Last year, the Committees decided to jointly hold an inquiry to further review the area in more detail. The Committees state that due to the unexpected decision to hold an early election, the report could not look at the area as in depth as they would have hoped, particularly when considering the volume of written evidence received.

The Committees hope that their successor Committees will return to this issue in the next Parliament.

Inquiry

As part of their inquiry, the Committees examined the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing and preventing the development of mental health problems in children and young people. The Committees also looked at other areas, including educational settings support prevention and early intervention, as well as how teachers and other professionals are trained and educated about these issues.

Main recommendations

The Committees recommend that the incoming Government should:

·         Publish a Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health as soon as possible in the new Parliament

·         Uphold a commitment to making PSHE a compulsory part of the curriculum

·         Ensure that well-being is applied using a whole-school approach and embedded within senior leadership, not just confined within PSHE classes

·         Ensure that mental health and well-being are given prominence in inspections and contribute to the overall grade given to the school or college

·         Provide current teachers and trainee teachers with mental health training

·         Offer a structured approach to referrals from education providers to CAMHS across the country

·         Ensure that education on social media is part of PSHE classes in schools

Next steps

We will be looking out for any further indication of the Committees returning to this issue or Government taking the matter forward after Parliament resumes after the General Election and the new Education and Health Committees are established.