Ambitious Targets Needed by Government for Embedding Mental Health Support in Schools

22 September 2023

As a trusted provider of vital wellbeing support within educational settings, Inspire is advocating for more ambitious goals to ensure young people are given the best start in life.

Inspire’s “Wellbeing” delivers essential mental health services, including counselling, listening services in school, workshops and more. The demand for these services has skyrocketed, with one-to-one counselling engagement more than doubling since this time last year.

We believe that the government has no choice but to prioritise and invest more in mental health support within educational settings as the mental health challenges faced by young people require immediate attention. According to statistics, half of all life-time diagnosable mental health conditions manifest by the age of 14, making it undeniable that these issues should be addressed during adolescence.

Our call for ambitious targets aligns with a growing movement led by prominent figures like Roman Kemp. The popular radio and TV presenter recently urged government ministers to take children’s mental health more seriously and to take decisive action to protect them.

In a heartfelt open letter posted on Twitter, Roman Kemp called upon the Prime Minister to ensure that every child has access to mental health support in schools. Kemp pointed out that mental health issues are rampant among young people, and an increasing number are reaching out for assistance with suicidal thoughts.

Currently, the government’s target is to embed Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in only 36% of schools. Roman Kemp has passionately advocated for raising this target to 100%, emphasising that an estimated 6.5 million children are missing out on school-based support. Astonishingly, less than 1% of NHS funding is allocated to children’s mental health.

By setting ambitious targets for embedding mental health support in schools, we can take a significant step towards addressing the mental health crisis facing our youth. Inspire is ready to collaborate closely with schools to support them in not only meeting, but exceeding these targets.

Naomi Thompson, Wellbeing Project Manager at Inspire, expressed our commitment by saying, “In the fight against young people’s poor mental health, we work alongside schools, sharing our expertise and resources, to ensure that every young person receives the mental health support they need. We need to work together – schools, charities and government – to create a better future for young people.”

Laya, a young person who has used Inspire’s Wellbeing, explains the importance of investing in mental health services, “I’ve known many, many people who have literally been so down in the depth of depression and suicidal thoughts, but just even a little bit of support can help so dramatically. From somebody like me, counselling has brought me to a place where I’m happy and want to get out there and do things. To be honest, mental health services just need more people working with it rather than against it because they’re so important.”