Urgent call for more help in Calderdale schools to recognise mental health issues

Is more help needed in Calderdale schools to recognise mental health issues?
Is more help needed in Calderdale schools to recognise mental health issues?

Helping schools to do more to recognise mental health issues among their pupils so they can then assist them should be a council priority, say Calderdale’s Liberal Democrats.

Councillors will debate the issue when the full Calderdale Council meets at Halifax Town Hall next Wednesday, January 30 (meeting starts at 6pm).

Coun Amanda Parsons-Hulse (Lib Dem, Warley) has put the mental health issue on the agenda – last year when she first tabled a motion on the subject it was “timed out” by other topics in the time allotted but it is an area where the council has recognised it needs to make progress.

Recently the subject was also raised by members of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Board when they considered the Calderdale Safeguarding Children’s Board annual report.

Coun Parsons-Hulse said: “We have children in our ward who are struggling and they are not the only ones.Debate

“There is a growing awareness of the problems of poor mental health amongst young people.

“We know that by addressing this early it can prevent more serious problems developing later.”

She said such problems can show up in school, but teachers are not experts in this field and already have more than enough to do.

That is why the council has a role in helping schools to address the issue by letting teachers know what help is already available and taking a lead in improving these services, said Coun Parsons-Hulse.

“We accept that a lot of good work is already being done, but there are some young people who are not able to access these services.

“Children who are not able to communicate their emotions or who are ‘non-verbal’ need therapeutic services that better fit the needs of the individual,” she said.

Coun Parsons-Hulse said Health and Wellbeing Board, which brings together representatives from the council, local health bodies and others, is the ideal place to discuss these matters and drive forward improvements.

“We are asking that this body works on this matter and reports back to council,” she said.