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More people than ever are suffering with their mental health, says school chief

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Brexit, schoolwork, financial difficulties and family breakdowns are among the “modern, toxic mix” of pressures which are leading to poor mental health among young people, says one school leader.

Ray Henshaw, principal of South Elmsall’s Minsthorpe Community College, said that more young people are struggling with their mental health than ever before.

“Many fear crime, domestic violence and look on a world in which they feel vulnerable and at risk whilst at the same time feeling under pressure to appear happy and cool in the face of an almost 24/7 scrutiny of their lives by friends and peers via social media,” he said.

“With all this at stake, essential local authority mental health services for children and young people are being cut. More effective signposting from schools is a good thing, but there are fewer services to signpost children to.

“Schools can barely afford to put teachers in front of students let alone stretch their already crippled budgets to pay for the mental health support services that young people need.”

Donna Hackleton says it is important for children and young people to be made aware that they are not alone in struggling with their mental health.

“Education is the key, “she said. “In schools and work alike, teachers and employers need to know how to handle mental health and point people in the right direction to get help, as well as offering ways to improve self worth and confidence.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said it was “transforming” mental health services for children and young people in England and is piloting a four week waiting time for access to mental health services in some areas.