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Many European schools face barriers to providing mental health support to students

In a cross-national study of what European schools are doing to support student mental health and well-being, 47% of surveyed schools indicated that mental health provision is a high/essential priority, but more than half did not implement a school policy regarding mental health.

Half the 1346 surveyed schools – which were located in France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, UK, and Ukraine – reported not providing sufficient support, with barriers including limited staff capacity, funding, and access to specialists and local mental health services, as well as a lack of national policy.

Responses varied by country with 8% to 19% between-country variation across the study outcomes. For example, just over a third of Serbian and French schools indicated having sufficient support in school for their students’ mental health compared with more than four-fifths of responding Dutch schools.

“With the increasing focus on schools as the setting for early identification and support for children’s mental health, our findings highlight the need for greater resources, training, and access to specialists and services in schools,” said Dr. Praveetha Patalay, lead author of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health study.

Article: Mental health provision in schools: priority, facilitators and barriers in 10 European countries, Patalay, P., Giese, L., Stankovi, M., Curtin, C., Moltrecht, B. and Gondek, D., Child and Adolescent Mental Health, doi: 10.1111/camh.12160, published online 27 April 2016.