Budget Estimates Questions on Notice reveal the high rate of school psychologist and nurses to students.
The questions reveal FTE ratios for:
School psychologists – 1 for every 878 students
School nurses – 1 for every 1844 students
Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said the figures showed the Government was not prioritising the mental and general health of Tasmania’s public school students.
“The Government must do more to support young people’s mental health before serious problems present,” Mr Willie said.
“How can we expect each school psychologist to look after 900 students?”
Mr Willie urged the Education Minister to adopt Labor’s policy to appoint mental health workers in all Tasmanian schools.
“Labor will recruit mental health workers to all Tasmanian state primary and high schools to ensure Tasmanian students have access to specialist mental health support,” Mr Willie said.
“Early intervention and prevention is vital in protecting a young person’s mental health.
“Labor urges the Government to adopt our policy and strengthen mental health support for our young people to ensure they get off to the best possible start in life.
“By identifying and treating mental ill health in children we can reduce the number of acute mental health issues at our hospitals and we can help reduce Tasmania’s youth suicide rate, which is among the highest in the country.”
Labor’s Mental Health Workers in Schools Program will employ a range of mental health professionals including social workers, youth workers and psychologists.
The statistics around mental health issues for younger Australians are confronting:
- Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14
- One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 experience a mental health condition in any given year
- One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt and one in 40 will attempt suicide
- Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians