Yesterday our Prime Minister put Mental health at the top of the national agenda. Great to have these focussed conversations in prominent places with special emphasis on schools and work places being equipped to intervene early for children and young people with difficulties. These announcements are welcome but are also met with a slow applause as this government does not have a great track record with the NHS.
“Schools will be linked to local NHS #mentalhealth services to support early intervention for Children and Young People” in PM speech.
“You can make the promises, but you need the workforce to deliver them.”
“Biggest challenge PM faces -getting funding to the front line. Services over-pressed, under-staffed + facing even more demands.” – President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In my opinion, as long as we stick strictly to the medical model of mental illness we will never get it right as it does not put enough emphasis on prevention. We need to start with educating young parents about the family, environmental, individual and social factors that contribute to the mental well being of a child.
Thereafter the schools need to be aware that if a child is happy, he or she is more likely to perform well. Hence putting them under academic pressure can be counterproductive. Bullying policies must be strictly implemented. Kids must be allowed to fail sometimes. There is grace and learning in defeat.
By no means do I claim to have all the answers but this would be a good start. Prevention is better than cure.