South Wales Police want mental health lessons for young people

South Wales Police want mental health lessons for young people
From BBC - January 9, 2018

Police have called for better mental health education in schools after a significant rise in young people being detained under the Mental Health Act.

Some 48 children and young people were detained by South Wales Police in 2016-17, up 33% from 36 the year before.

The force said "more robust education" in schools and care homes was needed to spot signs of mental health problems.

The Welsh Government said it has a 28-day waiting time target for children referred to mental health services.

Mental health problems among young people have been rising in recent years, with some children feeling under pressure to do well in exams while others have said they are being bullied through social media.

South Wales Police said detaining children and young people under the Mental Health Act was a last resort for officers and that they were encouraged to take a child into police protection instead so as "not to stigmatise children".

"Officers are too often left with no choice but to invoke section 136 (of the Mental Health Act) in the best interests of the child or young person," it said in a report being considered by the assembly's children, young people and education committee on Wednesday.

"Children do not suddenly become unwell, then have a few months treatment and are cured. Meaningful provision means preventative steps must be taken to protect our young minds from an early age.

"We need far more robust education in our schools and care homes to identify the signs of mental health and strategies and support put in place to help these children and young people."

North Wales Police said three under-17s were detained under the mental health act in 2015-16 but none had been last year.


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