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Vantage point: strengthening the school nursing workforce

Nationally, the number of school nurses has been declining, but the need for new services to treat young people with mental health problems has never been higher. 

Since the government’s Future in Mind review in 2015 of young people’s mental healthcare, I have heard how some areas have used their share of the extra £1.25 billion over five years to implement new services to treat young people with mental health problems.

This is great, but what are we doing with existing services to help young people’s mental health from worsening, and to halt the increase in how many are referred into already stretched services?

What can nurses do?

School nurses, for example, are registered nurses with specialist community public health degrees, who work in schools and the community, and are in many cases a young person’s first, independent contact with health services.

While many school nurses have no mental health qualification, they do have the skills


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