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Introduce mental health first aid training for teachers

Last updated: 03:30pm 21 June 2019

We will introduce mental health first aid training for teachers in every primary and secondary school by the end of the parliament…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.72

Our verdict

According to the latest large scale government survey of the mental health of children and young people:

“One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017”

And a 2017 survey by the teachers’ union NASUWT found that 98% of teachers have contact with pupils they believe are experiencing mental health issues.

This policy, to provide mental health first aid training for teachers, is one of a series of manifesto pledges (see “Related policies” below) aimed at providing support to children and young people when it is required.

In June 2017, just after the general election, the government announced a new training programme for teachers in secondary schools “to help them identify and respond to early signs of mental health issues in children”. The Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in Schools programme aims to deliver training to every secondary school in England by 2020. By the middle of 2018, 1,537 schools had taken part in the programme.

The organisation delivering the training, MHFA England, provides tailored courses wherever they are requested, but the actual government-sponsored Youth MHFA in Schools programme includes only secondary schools, not primaries.

The manifesto pledge is to provide training for teachers “in every primary and secondary school by the end of the parliament”. Significant inroads have been made in training teachers at secondary schools, but time is running out if the scheme is to be rolled out to all primary schools too. We’ll ask the government what their plans are, and we’ll keep tracking to see if we can move this to ‘done’, but for now it’s ‘in progress’. Follow this policy to stay up to date.

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