‘Teachers need to be trained in mental health’ after more than 50% of pupils feel sad or anxious

Isaac said a strong support network helped him when he was feeling down. Picture: Barnardo's

Isaac said a strong support network helped him when he was feeling down. Picture: Barnardo's - Credit: Archant

An Ilford Vlogger has spoken out about the need for teachers to be trained in spotting mental health issues after a Barnardo’s commissioned study found that more than 50 per cent of 12-16-year-olds in London feel sad or anxious at least once a week and 77pc cited school was one of their biggest causes of stress.

Isaac Harvey, 22, from Ilford, who has been supported by Barnardo’s and volunteered for the charity as a mentor, said: “The government should definitely start teaching the teachers more about mental health, so they know the signs and understand what mental health involves.

“A lot of teachers don’t see the signs among their students.

“To be able to talk to your favourite teacher about these subjects would be great.”

Isaac said there have been a lot of times when he felt down and wanted to give up, but was lucky to have a strong support network.

“I have a physical disability and I use a wheelchair to get around,” he added.

“During my life, I’ve been through a lot of challenges, like not being able to get on buses, tube and train stations not being accessible, having to plan routes every time I go out and people around me not being very helpful.

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“That’s really shaped me because it’s made me realise that I can’t let my disability stop me.

“My friends and family have always been supportive and that’s really helped.Because they’ve said to me that I can do things, it’s made me overcome barriers that are quite challenging.”

The results, compiled by YouGov, also reveal that the overwhelming majority of young people think it would be helpful if they had a counsellor at school.

Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, said: “It is deeply concerning that so many children are growing up feeling sad and anxious and these feelings are intensified as they get older.

“We need to create a culture where everyone has a greater understanding of what keeps children mentally well and when professional help is needed.

“We want parents and carers to be confident in recognising if their children are unhappy and teachers and other professionals to be sufficiently trained, adequately resourced and available to support them.”