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Teachers to be trained in mental health awareness

Teachers to be trained in mental health awareness

The press have reported today that every new teacher in England will be trained in how to spot early warning signs of mental illness, under a plan being unveiled by Theresa May later.

Melanie Lidstone-Land comments on the news:

“I am a Mental Health Lawyer.

I am also a mother of two teenagers.

For a long time I was a Parent Governor at my teens school responsible for monitoring the levels of Pastoral Care provided to the students.

I have seen, firsthand, how mental illness affects children and young adults.

And I have been constantly shocked by the lack of resources available to them and their families.

There is very little support available.

I absolutely advocate that teachers should be trained in spotting the early signs of mental illness in children and young adults. But I question, if the back up is not there for them, if the resources to deal with these issues after 3.15pm are not available to them and their families, what real use is it?

Mental illness does not confine itself to school hours and terms.”

Mrs May is quoted as saying :

"Too many of us have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of mental illness,"

Labour's Barbara Keeley countered that with her comment that the prime minister only offered "warm words” and the shadow minister for mental health said the "reality" was support services being "stretched to breaking point".

Melanie continues,

“I am inclined to agree with the comments of Barbara Keeley and wonder if Mrs May is just using the dying days of her administration to offer platitudes regarding a subject that she knows will gather favour.

In my day to day work I represent children and young adults who are detained under the Mental Health Act.  I regularly go “head to head” with Clinical Commissioning Group’s and local authorities, battling to get the relevant bodies to take responsibility for the provision of care for these young people and their families.

It is not an easy job. It is a legal minefield and how on earth it is meant to be navigated by patients and / or their families whilst in the midst of a mental health crisis is beyond me.

I know that we have more awareness now of Mental Health issues than before. But it is awareness AND resources that is needed, not empty promises and news articles.”

Melanie Lidstone-Land is one of a team of dedicated Mental Health Lawyers at Swain & Co Solicitors. She regularly advises and represents patients, and their families, when they are detained under the Mental Health Act or are seeking advice and assistance in relation to the provision of mental health services in the community.

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