New plans announced to tackle young peoples’ mental health

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced its new plans for tackling mental health issues in children and young people

The government has responded to its report – Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper – with a new plan for tackling the issue across primary and hospital care.

In this response, the plans outlined include:

  • Training up to 8,000 staff to work in mental health support teams.
  • Improving treatment access to ensure that 70,000 additional children and youths receive evidence-based treatment.
  • Introducing access and waiting times for children and young people for eating disorder treatment, and early intervention for psychosis treatment.
  • Improving timely access to inpatient beds closer to home.
  • Investing £365m in perinatal mental health services.
  • Creating legislation to make it illegal for under-18s to be taken into police stations due to mental illness.

In response to these promises, NHS Providers head of policy, Amber Jabbal, said:

“It is good to see that the government is pressing ahead with proposals to improve early identification and provision of mental health support for children and young people.

“We’re pleased that the cost of NHS supervision for the new mental health support teams will be covered in new funding, distributed through clinical commissioning groups.

However, while the phased approach means children and young people in some ‘trailblazer’ areas could benefit quickly, many others in places that are already under-served could miss out.

“It is vital these plans don’t reinforce inequalities in quality and access to specialist mental health services which are already a serious concern.

“NHS children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are already at full stretch and access thresholds in many places are too high, creating long waits and deteriorating mental health for too many children.

“Ensuring early access to specialised services for children identified through the schools-based services will require more NHS staff and resources to ensure these children’s needs are met in a timely and effective way, without adding to the waiting time and access pressures already faced across the country.

“Many mental health providers have seen their CAMHS services eroded, and have not received the promised investment from Future in Mind. Until the government can ensure funding reaches the frontline, children’s mental health services will continue to struggle in the face of rising demand and complexity of need.”

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