Understanding the mental health needs of secondary school children in Manchester

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Background: In a time of limited resources and the need for cohesive services, understanding levels of need and prevalence is key. Manchester has a diverse range of cultures and socio-economic groups; national data is valuable but not always representative of local need.

Aim: To assess the prevalence of mental health needs in secondary school pupils in Manchester.

Method: Parents and teachers in three secondary schools were invited to complete the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a tool examining unmet needs.

Results: Initially, 560 pupils were chosen. Having excluded families that opted out, 503 questionnaires were distributed. Teachers returned 200 questionnaires and parents returned 127. Higher than average levels of need were identified with teachers reporting that 18% of pupils scored abnormally on the SDQ. Parent rates were also higher than the national average at 13.4%.

Discussion: Parents and teachers wanted children to be seen at home and at school, the need for consultation and outreach from mental health into schools is emphasised.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, The Winnicott Centre, Manchester, UK 2: Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Emerge 16–17 CMHT, Manchester, UK 3: Clinical Psychologist, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, UK 4: Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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