Our report, 'Not making the grade' shows that growing numbers of young people who have experienced trauma, racism and are experiencing mental health problems, are finding themselves stuck. Secondary schools are struggling to meet the needs of young people with mental health problems.
“The schools do not have the resources to meet the needs of children with mental health problems and it took 9 months to get support via CAMHS and by this time it was too late…” - a parent
And even where they do, stigma and a lack of trust means that young people are reluctant to ask their school for help.
The report also makes recommendations for secondary schools and the UK Government to improve support for young people experiencing mental health problems.
Below are some of the key things we learnt from our research.
"It almost felt like you couldn't let anyone else know that you were seeing the school counsellor for fear of embarrassment."
"Was sent to isolation for a panic attack and not allowed out…"
"...At this point, I’m very, very slow to anger, which can be seen as a good thing in certain senses… I bottle it. That’s because the labels that were put on me as a Black girl if I got angry too quickly."
The overwhelming message from the young people we spoke to is that academic achievement is being prioritised at the expense of wellbeing. The pressure to succeed and perform well in exams is negatively impacting young people's mental health, which in turn impacts their ability to participate in school.
"I struggled to complete all of my work and homework and was often punished for this. There was never any question around why I was repeatedly falling short and no offer of extra support."
Right now, we are failing young people.
Unless young people are able to access the right type of support, they will not be able reach their full potential, succeed at school and create the life they want.
But we have a plan.
Young people need to be able to access early support, locally, without needing to wait or reach a threshold for treatment. That’s why, alongside our partners, we’re calling on:
There needs to be a wholesale change of approach. If this doesn’t happen, thousands more young lives will not reach their full potential and the UK Government will have to answer for the human and economic costs of inaction for years to come.
If you’re a young person between the ages of 11 and 24, get involved and we'll keep you updated on ways you can shape our work in England and Wales.