The secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt admitted there us a “bottleneck in parts of the country” for mental health beds. Children and young people in England are able to be able to access mental health support at school or college under government plans to improve services.
There are proposals to include a four week waiting time for under 18s needing specialist support and new mental health support teams in schools, which is hoped that one in four schools across the UK will have this provision in place by 2022.
Mental Health support groups and campaigners have stated that it is long overdue and only start to the kind of support needed, in order to support the needs of children facing mental health problems.
Mental Health in children has been of concern to parents, charities and healthcare professionals warning that families aren’t receiving the support that they need in order to deal with the matter at hand.
The green paper published late November listed the government’s proposal in regards to mental health issues for young people. It proposed:
- training for senior designated mental health leads in schools to improve prevention work
- earlier access to services through the creation of new mental health support teams working in and directly with schools
- a new four-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services
- every primary and secondary school in England to be offered mental health awareness training
- all pupils to be taught about mental health and wellbeing as part of improved relationships education and PSHE [personal, social, health and economic] lessons
Jeremy Hunt said: “Around half of all mental illness starts before the age of 14, so it is vital children get support as soon as they need it – in the classroom. “If we catch mental ill health early we can treat it and stop it turning into something more serious.”
Education Secretary Justine Greening added that prevention and addressing mental health issues early was key. “It actually really affects young people’s learning when they’re not able to engage at school as much as we want them to,” she said. “So it’s about more expertise on the doorstep for schools, better organisation between schools and the health service and improving the waiting time steadily so that young people can get faster care.”
Sources: The BBC