Crisis in children’s mental health

By Liz Hey, Principal Psychologist, Hogrefe Ltd

In the UK, there has been a reported 77% rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis, including eating disorder, self-harm or suicidal thoughts. In addition, schools are reporting a surge in mental health problems below this high threshold, with pupils needing extra support such as counselling. Teachers, support staff and headteachers have recently described seeing an increase in emotional and mental health issues among pupils since the pandemic, including anxiety. There is undoubtedly an negative effect on students’ learning, with attention, social-emotional skills, self-esteem and general wellbeing all being impacted.

With almost half of secondary schools (46%) reporting young people’s mental and emotional health as the biggest challenge in helping them catch up with learning (according to recent government research), what can psychologists working with children and young people in schools do to help?

Assessing a child or young person across different areas which may be being impacted by the crisis can give a picture of the ‘whole child’ - their knowledge, their strengths, and their developmental needs. The Intelligence and Development Scales – Second Edition (IDS-2) is a global cognitive and developmental assessment for children and adolescents, from 5 to 20 years. Designed as a true ‘toolkit’ from which the user can select the appropriate subtests or domains for a testing session according to the specific referral questions they are looking to answer – the IDS-2 actually saves time from using laborious cross-battery assessment methods.

The IDS-2 can be particularly valuable to psychologists working in the education sector. The breadth and depth of the assessment allows psychologists to accommodate the increasingly diverse needs of children and adolescents when preparing an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) for an education authority or school. And the IDS-2 can also provide evidence for supporting children and young people, in and out of the classroom.

Find out more about the IDS-2