Reported throughout the day as a UK-wide phenomenon somehow validated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), this turns out to be based on English schools only and with the RCP merely asked to comment after the event (confirmed by telephone to me this morning):
Referrals to child mental health units from UK primary schools for pupils aged 11 and under have risen by nearly 50% in three years, the BBC has learned.Replies to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from 46 health trusts indicate they rose from 21,125 to 31,531.The government (sic) says it is “determined to improve mental health support”.BBC News also sent FoI requests to 500 primary schools in England about serious mental health episodes.It found that 191 primary school pupils had self-harmed on school grounds in the last four years, according to responses received from 155 schools.
An RCP spokesperson said:
These figures are deeply worrying and build on evidence which shows emotional disorders in children have increased in recent years. Services for children have been historically underfunded [by the UK Government] meaning they are unable to meet increased demand. The government’s (sic) aim to provide mental health support in all schools within the next 10 years will be too little, too late for many children who need that help now.
There has been a worrying increase in referrals in Scotland reported by Audit Scotland but at the level of 22% over 4 years compared to the 50% over only 3 years being suggested by the RCP for the UK as a whole:
Mental health services for children and young people are under significant pressure. The number of referrals to specialist services increased by 22 per cent, from 27,271 to 33,270, between 2013/14 and 2017/18, with rejected referrals also increasing.
Sarah Smith: This is VERY convenient for the SNP enabling them to ignore criticism of schools in Scotland.