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The insufficiency that is forcing schools to become the “fourth emergency service”

Schools have finally had to take over with the suffering of students due to tight budgeting in an ineffective system.

Have schools finally become the last resort for those in need of help? The current news states that schools over the UK are having to step into place of mental health services to provide a secure safe space for their students to express the difficulties they may be going through.

1,120 headteachers of state-funded schools and colleges in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland participated in a survey conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders where 99% said both mental health services and children’s social services are severely poor *Porter, A. (2023).

High school teacher Mariam Nadeem spoke on the matter “from what I see, in schools the type of mental health issues students are dealing with is spanning from social media, these issues are difficult for us to deal with as we don’t always see what happens outside of school and we aren’t always necessarily equipped to support students – we teach PSHE but that is covered once a week.” She also dwelled on the topic being not only a struggle for the schools in general but also the teachers “the designated person for mental health isn’t always available or has the time to see a lot of the students. As a teacher trying to aid our students can be difficult when there can be a range of mental health problems they are suffering from as this isn’t something we are trained in.”

Schools have also had to step in place to offer free breakfast clubs for those amongst the low income families, with the current levels of child poverty being at its highest.

RMHN Miranda Marsh expressed a rise in children attending A&E due to expressing suicidal ideation within a school environment and the schools not being equipped to manage this.

A plan has been established by the government to prioritise early help and intervention for families within children’s social care, to stay together where it is possible.

* Porter, A. (2023) Schools have become ‘fourth emergency service’ due to poor mental health and social care for young people, Sky News. Available at: (Accessed: 10 May 2023).

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