New statistics on student to professional support staff ratios reinforces Labor’s calls for increased mental health support for young Tasmanians.
Shadow Education Minister, Josh Willie, said Labor is urging the government to fund its policy of employing mental health workers in every Tasmanian school in the November budget.
“The Department of Education annual report shows there are around 60,000 students and only 70 psychologists and 79 social workers,” Mr Willie said.
“This ratio is still too high to support students in a timely way. This year COVID-19 has presented many challenges and the government’s own Student Wellbeing Survey shows that there are some cohorts struggling with emotional wellbeing.
“Providing adequate mental wellbeing support for young Tasmanians is essential not only to support learning, but also to improve their mental health and resilience into the future.
“Labor’s 40$ million Mental Health Workers in Schools policy will improve these ratios through employing a range of mental health professionals including social workers, youth workers and psychologists.
“Prevention and early intervention is vital in protecting a young person’s mental health and we know from talking with teachers and parents that we can do more to support our children and young people.
“An investment in student mental health at an early age will help to prevent the development of more acute mental health issues and ease pressure on our health system.
“I’m urging Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff to act now and adopt our policy to ensure there is consistent and timely access to mental health support services across all Tasmanian schools.”
Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Minister for Education