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Children: Mental Health

Question for Department for Education

UIN 1749, tabled on 9 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to promote good mental health among (a) deaf children and young people in mainstream education and (b) such children and young people in other contexts.

Answered on

16 June 2015

The Government is committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of all children and young people. Mainstream and special schools have a vital role to play in helping to promote good mental health for all their pupils as well as providing early support where mental health problems have been identified.

To support them to do this, we have funded the PSHE Association to publish age-appropriate guidance to improve teaching about mental health within PSHE. This will be followed by a set of lesson plans spanning key stages 1-4 which will be available for schools to use by September 2015. More information can be found online here: https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/news_detail.aspx?ID=1435

We recognise that prevalence of mental health problems is greater among deaf children. For children, the impact of deafness on their social & psychological development as well as their communication, literacy and educational achievement can be dramatic. Good mental health is one of the four positive outcomes for all children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) that are at the heart of the recent SEND reforms. These reforms created a holistic and responsive approach to meeting the education, health and care needs of disabled children and young people, including those with hearing impairments.

For those with more complex needs, including pupils in special schools, statements are being replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans. These are intended to cover the full range of the child or young person’s needs, including consideration of their mental health and wellbeing. This is to recognise the interaction between the issues they face and the need for joined up support. Children and young people should be involved in developing their EHC plan to ensure that their ambitions and the things that are important to them are reflected. The statutory guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

Where mental health needs are identified it is important that suitable effective provision can be made. The Department of Health has begun identifying and taking forward actions on how we can provide therapeutic support to deaf people. In the meantime, Clinical Commissioning Groups are expected to recognise the importance of commissioning mental health services that are accessible to British Sign Language users and deaf people more generally.