Barriers to tackling mental health issues | Letters

Sharing your experiences with colleagues can be freeing or detrimental, warns one anonymous writer. Headteacher Eileen Sheerin responds to the news that children who need help with mental health face a postcode lottery

While I agree with the idea that it is helpful to be able to talk to managers and colleagues if you have mental health issues (It can be a wonderful freeing moment, G2, 8 April) it very much depends on the attitudes of those you work with as to the outcome.

I tried to lessen the stigma around these issues by sharing some of my difficulties with colleagues in an appropriate way, but when I was open with the CEO of the small company where I had worked for over 10 years, I came to regret it. My difficulties were seen as personal weaknesses, I was not paid for time taken for mental health treatments (despite appointments for medical treatments for other staff being taken as paid time off), and I was not supported in any way. This was despite the relevant staff member being a qualified psychologist.

Training and awareness is great, but there also needs to be the will to accept and to understand. It can be very difficult to judge a person’s attitude towards mental health issues in advance of broaching the subject with them. I hope we can find a way to overcome this.
Name and address supplied

• We know that local authorities are prioritising early intervention for young people’s mental health, and it’s positive that they are. But as Sally Weale notes (Report, theguardian.com, 10 April), the funds available simply do not go far enough. Until the government can guarantee there will not be a postcode lottery for young people with mental health issues, we will continue to see young people fall down the cracks. Educators are in a position to provide early intervention support for students’ mental health, but if they are not given adequate funding and time to do this, we will still be fighting a losing battle.
Eileen Sheerin
Headteacher of Ashcroft School, Together Trust

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Spotting mental health issues in schoolchildren | Letters
Letters: Readers react strongly to the news that Theresa May is to pledge new materials and guidance for teachers as part of a prevention initiative

Letters

17, Jun, 2019 @4:43 PM

Article image
Warnings over mental impact of benefit changes must be heeded | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to news that the benefits system shake-up is damaging people’s mental health and putting increasing strain on the NHS

Letters

11, Mar, 2019 @6:20 PM

Article image
Sounding an alarm over children’s mental health | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to news about soaring Ritalin use, the underfunding of child mental health services and the toll GCSEs are taking

Letters

29, Jun, 2018 @3:45 PM

Article image
Parental conflict and children’s mental health | Letters
Letters: Eleven parliamentarians and experts in children’s welfare sign a letter calling on the government to expand the limited provision for young people exposed to parental conflict

Letters

08, Feb, 2018 @5:52 PM

Article image
The Southampton perspective on inequality in the UK | Letters
Letters: Adam Wheeler points out that deprivation is not limited to the north, while Geoffrey Wheatcroft thinks the Guardian should return to its Mancunian roots

Letters

02, Mar, 2020 @5:32 PM

Article image
How can every mind matter in a broken mental health system? | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to the launch of the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign and share their thoughts on other mental health issues

Letters

09, Oct, 2019 @4:29 PM

Article image
A children’s ‘new deal’ mustn’t be limited to schools | Letter
Letter: Funding for children’s mental health must extend to tackling area deprivation and a lack of services, says Prof Mike Stein

Letters

26, Sep, 2021 @4:35 PM

Article image
Gaps in remote learning need to be closed urgently | Letters
Letters: Hayley Brocklehurst says the fact that the government left state school parents to home school was a disgrace, Joseph Palley thinks schools and universities should remain closed in January, while Frances Kelly says laptops should be provided to every child whose parents cannot afford them

Letters

28, Dec, 2020 @4:15 PM

Article image
‘Unseen teens’ need targeted and coordinated support | Letter
Letter: Leaders of 13 charities call for government action to help vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds who fall through the cracks between children’s and adults’ services

Letters

28, Apr, 2019 @3:19 PM

Article image
Food education key to tackling obesity | Letter
Letter: The government’s £2bn walking and cycling initiative is a classic kneejerk response that will not address the problem, writes Tom McNab

Letters

05, Aug, 2020 @4:28 PM