Public mental health in schools: do we need new laws?

Schools are known to offer great opportunities to educate young people about their health, relationships and healthy lifestyles. Recently there has been more emphasis on emotional health and schools programmes to teach character and to encourage nourishing and responsible relationships that promote and protect good mental health over the life-course. The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK produced a public health position statement which shows strong evidence of the social, health and economic benefits over the life-course. These benefits are substantial if early intervention and preventive interventions are actively implemented. In the US there is now debate that such an approach might actually reduce the levels of violence and gun crime. Indeed, an intriguing proposal from the US is a ‘mental health in schools act’, legislation to ensure such work is not optional or patchy but an essential part of every school child’s education. Given the absence of action to introduce preventive interventions in schools, and where they exist it is left to heroic efforts of poorly funded voluntary sector agencies, is legislation needed in the UK?

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20130302/OPINION01/303020014/Editorial-Mental-Health-Schools-Act-would-save-kids-lengthen-lives?nclick_check=1

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