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18.05.20

Welsh Gov £5m funding for mental health in schools now for under 11s

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week today (May 18), the Welsh Minister for Education Kirsty Williams and Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething, have announced £3.75m in mental health funding.

The focus of the funding will be supporting children and young people with their mental health in schools, including new support for children under 11 years old.

Young people between 11 years old and 19 years old already have direct access to school counselling services, which will now see that support stretch to those younger than year 6.

In addition, £450,000 will be ring-fenced for supporting the wellbeing of the school workforce, with the Welsh Government working with partners to develop these plans.

It comes on top of £1.25m that was announced last month, to help local authorities to deliver counselling services in school, bringing the total support to £5m this financial year.

Kirsty Williams said:

“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.

“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.

“We know traditional face-to-face counselling is not necessarily appropriate for younger children, who may lack the maturity to explain and understand the issues which concern them.  Instead specialist therapies, such as those based on play and working with the wider family are much more effective and we will work with providers to develop these services as part of our wider whole school approach.”

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