110 Te Tai Tokerau Principals this week identified 1089 pupils in their schools who need clinical psychological help to recover from often horrific childhood experiences – and there’s little available!
Pat Newman, President of Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association, says this is an appalling number of our young people who badly need services that are non-existent for them.
“That’s about 6% of the pupils in those schools. Worse still, we have 33 schools with 16% or more of their students needing urgent clinical intervention. That is a huge problem that for too long has been swept under the carpet,” says Mr Newman.
“These 1089 mainly primary aged children do not have mild to moderate needs. Some of them are suicidal and all are a serious danger to themselves and others. They have serious needs that unless corrected now, will end up causing harm to others and we are just consigning these children eventually to prison,” says Mr Newman.
“In the past, our concerns have been rubbished and we’ve been challenged to produce evidence of the level of need in the North. We may not be doctors, but we can certainly identify the children in our own schools needing help. This is a child mental health issue and the politicians and bureaucrats can’t argue now. We have the data!”
Mr Newman said Whangarei Hospital’s child mental health team was unable to keep up with the need and child mental health resources in the Far North were virtually non-existent.
“This is a mental health crisis, children are suffering, and the government’s solution is to wait until these hurting kids get old enough to really do some damage and then they’ll get sent to boot camp for a year, at the cost of $150,000 per person. Please – spend that money on helping families turn their lives around before it’s too late, not on punishing the young people that society has abandoned.”
President Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association