Children’s mental health awareness week.
I am a mum of 3 boys and I have had the pleasure and/or misfortune of going through varying systems and organisations with anxiety, autism, dyslexia and relating issues. As a family we have worked closely within the mainstream and autism specific school system, it has been a rollercoaster ride of Senco’s, Ed Psych’s, school nurses, varying out reach services and pediatricians.
Over the years my children have needed support to get used to changes and gain control. I think we have been extremely lucky with the support that we have had.
However as a counsellor who works with children, families and adults I hear how other individuals feel let down by the system.
That is why they seek out private counselling for themselves or their children.
The Governments recent Green Paper children’s mental health promise is certainly an admirable statement to empower schools to tackle these problems.
However is their approach to fulfilling this promise manageable or are parents left with feelings of doubt and worry. Children will recieve support in schools from a mental health team and support staff with a teacher who is in charge of their mental awareness. This will hopefully encourage a sufficiently skilled counsellor in schools across the UK. This will hopefully discourage schools who are at the moment utilising their T/As and mentors as counselling services and ensure that their children are recieving the right support.
I believe that we need more qualified level 4 and above counsellors, play therapists and educational psychologists working in our schools who are already trained and have the experience to help these children. Yes this may cost a little more than the teaching assistants or mentors who are being employed to do this job. But isn’t it worth it? My concern is what level of training will this mental health team have to work with the children and young people. Is this quick fix really the best way to tackle children’s mental health in the long term? Or is it an ill advised therapy likely to create more issues that need dealing with later?
So on Children’s mental health week we need to look at these policies and realise that any therapy is only as good as the therapist.