Liverpool school faces mental health challenges including attempted suicide and self harm

The ‘outstanding’ school is facing ‘tremendous’ mental health issues amongst students.

A Liverpool high school deputy head has revealed the depths of its mental health challenge.

Almost 1,000 incidents were reported at King David High School in Wavertree, ranging from stress to self-harm and attempted suicide. October Wright, deputy head, told a city mental health and well-being task and finish group of the difficulty of accessing external mental health services to support those in need.

The school, located on Childwall Road, provides Jewish and secular education to hundreds of pupils aged between 11 to 16 alongside its sixth form provision. In its last inspection by Ofsted in 2011, it was deemed outstanding.

Mrs Wright’s admission “really brought it home that there are tremendous mental health issues in a school which is highly regarded and successful” according to an update from the task and finish group chair, to be discussed by Liverpool Council’s education committee next week. Although deemed excellent, services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) and Young Person’s Advisory Service (YPAS) have up to a three-year waiting list.

It was said as a result, the emphasis is on schools to provide services in house. At present, King David has a mental health lead in school and is looking to find space for a mental health breakout area. The school also uses cultural activities like cinema club to tackle mental health issues.

This is an approach that has been recommended as “imperative” for schools to replicate elsewhere and access all available funding to provide internal services. On a city wide basis, an issue remains for all pupils in Liverpool schools knowing who to turn to for help and action on a poster campaign in each school is ongoing, a report detailed.

The impact of the cost of living crisis on Liverpool’s young people is also to be considered moving forward. Mrs Wright also raised the issue of the rise in sexual assaults in schools and looking for how it is tackled. This has led King David to hold extra assemblies, reinforce community values and going back to basics with respect and interactions, according to the deputy head.