A CLYDEBANK councillor is hoping funding for closing the attainment gap can be used for more mental health projects in schools.

John Mooney said a great deal of general wellbeing work is being done in schools but would like to see more on mental health awareness, first aid and training.

The Clydebank Central councillor told the Post in particular there could be counselling for pupils aged 16-18 to help transition from child and adult services currently available.

The Scottish Government recently announced £1.321 million for head teachers to spend on raising attainment to primaries and £460,000 between the two high schools.

It’s the second year of the pupil equity funding (PEF), calculated by the number of pupils at each school entitled to free school meals each week.

Cllr Mooney, who is also chairman of Clydebank charity Stepping Stones, said there could be three elements to a mental health focus: awareness, training staff and counselling pupils.

He told the Post: “We’re offering awareness sessions in the schools to pupils, parents and teachers so they have awareness of mental health.

“Then we can deal with the need in schools with teachers and support staff having first aid skills in mental health.

“It’s a different level than educational psychologists. I would like to see some of the barriers taken out and more people saying, ‘Are you ok?’”

He added it was up to schools how they used PEF cash but hoped more could be done.

Cllr Mooney said: “It seems from what I have seen that people are receptive to it.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Pupil Equity Fund (PEF) projects are agreed and delivered by schools and partners. This work is supported by the WDC education team.

“A range of interventions which support the well-being of our pupils are being developed across our schools and through PEF funding we can help address, support and invest in the mental health of our children and young people.”