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January 18, 2018

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Survey shows lack of mental health training among Scottish teachers

Two thirds of teachers in Scotland do not feel they have had enough mental health training, a new report has revealed.

The report by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) found only a third of school staff surveyed said their school has an “effective way” of dealing with pupils experiencing mental health problems.

Only 12% of the 3,000 teachers who responded to the survey said they felt they had adequate training in mental health and two third (66%) said they had not received sufficient training to allow them to do their job properly.

Only one in 100 responses recalled doing detailed work on mental health when they were student teachers.

And 45% of teachers have never undertaken any continuous professional development (CPD) in mental health.

The report also calls for a national programme to train all Scottish school staff in mental health, and for counselling services for pupils to be set up in secondary schools by 2020.

No training

“Although health and wellbeing is a core area of the Curriculum for Excellence, this survey shows clearly that unlike almost all other subject areas, teachers have had insufficient or no training on mental health to allow them to do their job,” said SAMH chief executive, Billy Watson.

“While we know that work on mental health training is underway as part of the Mental Health Strategy, we think more needs to be done – at a quicker pace, and on a national level.

“The situation is urgent and school staff and pupils can’t wait any longer,” added Mr Watson. “We want the Scottish Government to commit to establishing a national programme of mental health training that is consistent to meet the needs of school staff.”


In response, the Scottish mental health minister, Maureen Watt said: “Every child and young person should have access to emotional and mental well-being support in school.

“To ensure this we’ve started a national review of Personal and Social Education – including consideration of the role of guidance and counselling in local authority schools.

“We’ve also provided £95,000 to establish a Youth Commission on Mental Health Services from Young Scot and SAMH, empowering young people to identify issues important to them and recommend improvements.”



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