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Depressed Teens - is there anything practical that a school can/should do to help?

(7 Posts)
differenttoyou Tue 01-Apr-14 12:41:02

DS (Y10) refused school this morning though he did eventually go in for two lessons. This is not the first and most likely won't be the last occurrence. We already have CAMHS involved and are going to GP this evening (again). School so far have not been great. I was wondering whether there is anything in practical terms that they can do to help or should be doing. What can we expect from them?

We've spoken to the pastoral care manager who seems to like to pass the buck back to the kids. It feels as though they are trying to palm the problem back to us and are not providing support in school. We are doing our best to fight DS's corner and get the right help but could do with a bit more from school.

adoptmama Tue 01-Apr-14 13:40:58

I think the type and nature of the support you should get from the school will depend on your the difficulties your DS is having. If for example he is diagnosed with actual depression & receiving treatment etc. Also what kind of help the school can practically support like help with missed work, emotional support etc. It can be very difficult for schools - for lots of reasons - to help children/young people with mental health problems but that does not absolve them of responsibility to do what they can. Do you have any recommendations from CAMHS for the school to act upon and is there anyone in the school (tutor, head of year) who you can use to by-pass Pastoral if they are not supportive?

differenttoyou Tue 01-Apr-14 14:04:31

I'm trying to find out. The last time that I wrote a note to the year tutor it was passed on to someone else. No one told me this until I queried why I had heard nothing. The person it was passed to never responded to me.

CAMHS have written to the school to try and initiate a meeting. Hopefully something will come of that. I'm hoping that outside intervention triggers a better response. DS is suffering from depression hence the GP appt this evening. GP already knows about the problems so this is a further follow up. Emotional support is not very forthcoming from the school. I don't know if I can push for someone to be nominated as their contact point other than the pastoral care manager.

diddlediddledumpling Tue 01-Apr-14 14:10:02

The pastoral structure should be more than just year tutor and pastoral manager. Can you find out any information in the school website? Check their pastoral care policy to find out exactly who's responsible.
I can half understand why they're passing it back to him, since I have seen pupils getting into a spiral of helplessness where they rely on adults to an excessive degree and their mental health really doesn't benefit from this. But depression is such a wide ranging condition that it's hard to know what's right for each individual.
If he has a diagnosis from his GP (and if CAMHS is involved, I assume H&S does) then the school has a responsibility to help. Just as they would if someone had a diagnosis of a physical illness.

differenttoyou Tue 01-Apr-14 14:15:00

Thank you. I'll check the school's website.

littledrummergirl Tue 01-Apr-14 20:38:53

Depression is covered under the equalities act. This applies to anyone who has a duty of care so although it is usually used in the workplace it also applies to schools.
Have a good read and see which bits affect you then speak to the school about their legal requirement to put steps in place to support.
What do you think they need to do? Give this consideration and see how it fits.

ThreeLannistersOneTargaryen Tue 01-Apr-14 20:52:54

When DS1 (Y9) was struggling last year, the school set up a weekly appointment with someone from the LS department who taught him coping strategies and did some basic CBT. He no longer has a regular appointment but knows he can go there whenever things get too much.

He also has a card he can show the teacher which means he can leave the lesson and go to the LS department at any time. He hasn't needed to use this for months now, which I see as a good sign.
A couple of the more clued-up teachers have set up a code whereby DS1 can signal that he isn't coping. His Maths teacher is very observant and just needs to look at DS1 to know.

I hope your DS gets some support and starts to feel better soon.

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