Commenting on a Young Minds survey, which shows that academic pressure is a significant factor affecting the mental health of young people, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“As this survey shows, teachers play an important role in the support of children and young people experiencing mental health issues. They are however being hindered by a combination of real-terms funding cuts, a reduction in teaching and learning support assistants and the increasingly strained access to external support services, including mental health specialists. The narrowing of the curriculum, and exam factory assessment are also clearly having an impact on children and young people’s mental health.

“A series of NEU surveys have shown a clear increase in the number of pupils experiencing mental health issues. Just last month, 73% of teachers told us they believe student mental health has worsened since the introduction of reformed GCSEs. This is borne out by the Young Minds survey, which shows that school pressure was the top reason these young people turned for help with their mental health, bigger than concerns over body image, bullying or social media.”.

“It is quite clear that Government policies on education and the underfunding of public services is contributing to this destructive and distressing situation for young people and their families. The Government has an opportunity at next week’s spending review to address the shortfall of funding our vital public services desperately need.”

Editor’s Note

(1) Reformed GCSEs are damaging the mental health of young people, and failing to accurately reflect their abilities, 21 August 2019