Every schoolchild in Rutland is to receive training to help them cope with the strains of modern life thanks to a pioneering new initiative.
On the same day that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt conceded mental health care for young people is the biggest single area of weakness in NHS provision, teachers from across the county were receiving specialist training in resilience.
Delivered by leading national charity Young Minds, the training will give teachers the information they need to help pupils at their schools.
The project, led by Healthwatch Rutland in partnership with local schools, has been funded through a £6,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Rutland and the Rotary Club of Uppingham.
Thanks to this local initiative, staff from every school in Rutland – primary, secondary and sixth-form colleges – will receive training.
Recognising that young people are facing unprecedented levels of pressure, the government has allocated more than £1 billion to mental health care – but difficulties in getting that money to the frontline meant Rutland decided to fund its own project.
The first training sessions for teachers took place at Uppingham Community College this week.
Healthwatch Rutland’s Young People’s Lead, Ann Williams, said: “We were thrilled when two local Rotary groups helped us lay the foundations by funding this very important training. Rutland is leading the way.”
High Sheriff of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness has been a strong supporter of the project and she took the training course herself.
Speaking afterwards, she said: “Rutland is now on its way to eradicating the stigma of poor mental health. For this we are immensely grateful to the support from the community.
“The training for the secondary schools, starting today, has been funded by the two Rotary Clubs – Uppingham and Rutland. This work is a major step forward in supporting our young people for the stresses of modern life.
Schools across the countery are having to deal with a range of cases of depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, attempted suicide and suicide.
In March 2015, the government announced it was to release £1.25 billion of funding for its five-year ‘Future in Mind Transformational Plan’.
All regions of England were invited to produce a plan and to bid for the additional funding.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland were awarded £1.8 million per year, for five years.
Uppingham Community College A-level student Lizzie Hulse said: “It is reassuring to see everything that is being done to help young people with mental health problems. It is often easy for issues such as these to be downplayed.”