PM to pledge new materials and guidance for schools as part of prevention initiative

Theresa May is to announce that all teachers in England and Wales will be trained to spot the early signs of mental health issues in children as part of a package of measures aimed at prioritising prevention.

With her premiership entering its final weeks, May is keen to salvage a domestic legacy from her three Brexit-dominated years in power.

She will visit a school in south-west London to highlight the importance of identifying mental health problems early, and make a series of promises, including the provision of new teaching materials to be used in classrooms and updated statutory guidance on schools’ responsibilities.

NHS staff will be encouraged to take suicide prevention training, and there will be updated professional guidance for social workers to oblige them to take relevant training.

“We should never accept a rise in mental health problems as inevitable,” May will say, calling failures in the treatment of mental illness one of the “burning injustices” she promised to fight when she arrived in Downing Street.

“It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention.”

The measures will be funded from a long-term increase in NHS spending announced by the prime minister last year: the government had already said spending on mental health would increase more rapidly than the overall health service budget.

May will also commit to overhauling the Mental Health Act, including by legislating against the use of police cells to detain people experiencing a mental health crisis.

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