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Government pledges £1.4bn for young people’s mental health in green paper

An additional £1.4bn will be made available for children and young people’s mental health over five years, a new green paper has said.

The paper, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’, sets out to deliver on the ambitions set out in 2015’s ‘Future in mind’ and 2016’s ‘Five year forward view for mental health’ strategies.

With one in 10 young people with a diagnosable mental health condition of some form, children with mental health needs “face unequal chances in their lives,” which are particularly pronounced where these issues continue into adulthood.

The three main elements in the paper are to incentivise every school and college to have a “designated senior lead for mental health”; funding of new mental health support teams to provide extra capacity for early intervention and ongoing support; and the trial of a four week waiting time for access to NHS children and young people’s mental health services.

These new pillars will be rolled out from 2019 across a number of “trailblazer areas”, which will be subject to “robust evaluation” and will determine the wider rollout.

Funding will be secured after 2020-21, the end of the government’s current spending period.

In a joint statement in response to the green paper Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, and Niall Dickson, NHS Confederation chief executive, said: “Not before time the government has turned its attention to the mental health of children and young people, and with extra money we may see results. But more needs to be done more quickly as these plans will only reach a minority of schools by 2022.”

They added that the new teams must be part of a “wider, strategic workforce plan.

“Mental health services cannot recruit the staff they need now, and we must make sure we have the right staff with the right skills in the right places to carry out these new roles,” they explained.

The consultation on the green paper will close on 2 March 2018.

Top image: ljubaphoto

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