Copleston High School headteacher Andrew Green warns the government schools are facing a youth mental health crisis
A headteacher has warned the government that schools are facing a youth mental health crisis with students waiting up to a year for help.
Andrew Green, who leads Copleston High School in Suffolk, told MPs the pandemic has led to a surge in referrals with resources stretched.
The school have their own mental health nurse but capacity is outstripped by demand as young people struggle to readjust post-covid.
Speaking in front of education select committee, Mr Green said that as well as money for academic catch-up there needs to be funding for emotional and wellbeing support.
He told MPs: “About four years ago, prior to the pandemic, we employed a mental health nurse at the school and I have to say I am very glad we did.
“Her services have been in great demand. Whilst there are agencies you can signpost children to, what I would be worried about it is the time it is taking for these children to be seen.
“Some of these agencies have a year-long waiting list which indicates how stretched resources are.
"If we did not have the ability to tap into to what we have got in-house it would be even more difficult and tricky.
“This is something we have decide to use our budget on prior to the pandemic but even with someone full time they can’t see everyone."
It comes as the government faced criticism for a lack of funding for mental health provision for young people impacted by the pandemic.
Speaking after the committee Mr Green said: “The government have been on the front foot with academic catch up and that is to be applauded.
“However, we are facing a crisis in mental health among our young people which needs immediate action.
"We need to get the funding in place to support those who have been seriously impacted upon.
“From the very outset I realised that to have a happy functional school you must look after peoples’ emotional wellbeing.
"That is not to say that we get everything right as that would be impossible but we certainly realise the importance of this work and we are heavily invested in it as a priority
“Having in-house mental health support has been invaluable but even our resources are stretched.
"I know that other schools are struggling and the young people can’t access services. This needs to be addressed.”