Two years have passed since the publication of the government’s Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision. A key element of the vision that was set out in this document was to introduce mental health support teams into schools to provide low-level clinical interventions to young people with mental ill health. The Green Paper also emphasised that schools and teachers can play a critical role in the identification of mental ill health.
Poor mental health is caused by poverty, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, social
inequalities as well as individual and school-related factors. The causes are complex and multifaceted but are linked to the social circumstances in which people live. I will argue that unless these circumstances are addressed, mental health problems will continue. The solutions to mental ill health therefore lie outside the individual rather than being rooted within the individual.
In addition, I will argue that the clinical discourse which is being adopted uncritically in schools fails to address the broader social circumstances that result in poor mental health. I will argue that that because the causes of poor mental health are often rooted outside the individual, a systemic response is required rather than model which is based on diagnosis and treatment.