Canterbury principals are praising Labour’s plans to fund extra mental health services in the region’s primary and intermediate schools.

Yesterday the party announced it would provide 80 extra mental health professionals at a cost of $10 million per year.

Currently just seven full-time DHB staff cover the needs of 136 schools.

St Martin’s School Principal Rob Callaghan said there are many children with post-traumatic stress symptoms, and teachers can’t meet their needs.

“Stress syndrome type symptoms without the adequate levels of professional support, it’s very much like sticking bandage on a broken leg.”

He said support is urgently needed.

“There are increased levels of anxiety which is showing itself with students that withdrawal, disengagement from their learning, aggression in the playground and even in the classroom and the work that is needed falls well outside of what schools are able to provide.”

Callaghan said extra mental health staff would be very helpful.

“We’ve been asking for this for a long time and we’ve been ignored and what we are seeing is out Tamariki and whanau have been suffering as a result.”

Source: Newstalk ZB


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