The Welsh Government has announced it is to spend £5m on improving mental health in schools, including support for under-11s and teachers.
Welsh ministers confirmed today there would be an additional £3.75m of funding for mental health in schools, including support for children under the age of 11.
The announcement comes at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week.
School counselling services in Wales currently provide direct support to young people from the age of 11, or Year 6, up to the age of 18.
The funding announced today will extend support to provide mental and emotional support to children younger than Year 6.
In addition, £450,000 will also go towards supporting mental health and well-being of the school workforce.
The Welsh Government said it is working with partners to develop further plans on how that support will be delivered.
The funding is on top of the £1.25m announced by the Education Minister last month, for local authorities to deliver counselling services in schools, taking the total support to £5m this financial year.
‘The coronavirus is inevitably causing additional anxiety for people of all ages, not least children and young people. We must therefore anticipate increased demand for mental health support among younger people,’ said Welsh education minister, Kirsty Williams.
‘We know that by tackling problems early you can stop them escalating. Although serious mental health issues are less prevalent among younger children, we’re extending the support available so that children under 11 can also receive support with their emotional well-being, if they need it.’
Last week, a survey found two-thirds of parents and carers are worried about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their child’s mental health.
The survey by the charity Young Minds found this figure rose to three quarters (77%) for those whose children or young people had required mental health support in the previous three months.
Around a quarter (24%) of those surveyed said that they would not know where to turn for advice and information on supporting their children’s mental health during this time.
The BBC is also running a series of programmes this month to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
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