Thousands of children and young people across England will benefit from new mental health support, backed by a multi-million pound government investment
£3.3 million is being spent to expand 23 community projects which help to prevent mental illness in children and young people, including counselling, mentoring and arts programmes.
As part of the government’s commitment to transforming mental health care - which includes a pledge of an additional £2.3 billion a year through the NHS Long Term Plan - Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries and Public Health Minister Jo Churchill announced today that a further £3.3 million will be invested into 23 local community projects across England.
“We know children and young people today face many pressures at home and in their social and academic lives, but giving them easily accessible mental health support at an early age can help them thrive later in life,” said Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries.
“That’s why the government is investing billions every year to transform mental health care, and giving more money to innovative, community-led projects run by people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to supporting young people by providing them with the tools and means they need to manage their own mental health.”
The funding will allow more children and young people aged 25 and under to access services local to them to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental ill health. The projects emphasise improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as LGBT young people, or those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Some of the projects receiving funding include:
- LifeLine Community Projects (Barking and Dagenham) will receive more than £298,000 to expand their work with young people most at risk of poor mental health.
- York Mind will receive £50,000 to expand their Arts Award programme, connecting young people to the arts to promote skill development, improve confidence, sense of identity and reduce isolation.
- The Proud Trust Peer Support Project (Manchester) will receive more than £23,000 to support more LGBT young people through life-changing events, including understanding their sexuality/gender and coming out.
The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a government investment programme in the voluntary sector. The projects will be fully funded through the scheme in the first year, with additional funding from local commissioners to be agreed for the following two years.
On the announcement, Minister for Public Health Jo Churchill said: “It’s only right that children and young people are able to access mental health support, not only through the NHS, but in the heart of their communities, schools and homes where they spend the majority of their time.
“The voluntary sector has a hugely important role to play in delivering these kinds of services and our Health and Wellbeing Fund is leading the way in ensuring government plays a role in cultivating the most effective, innovative and successful forms of community support - backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to improve NHS mental health services too.”
Through the NHS Long Term Plan, mental health services are being transformed. As a result, an estimated 345,000 more children and young people will have access to the necessary mental health support by 2024. This will significantly improve early intervention and prevention.
The additional £2bn each year towards mental health care is expected to be used in a number of ways, including:
- Covering community services for those experiencing mental health problems.
- Creating and funding specialist crisis teams working with schools, as well as social and young people’s mental health services.
- Creating teams in schools to support those with mild to moderate mental health problems.
Earlier this year, the government pledged to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness through better access to education, training and support across local communities. This included a commitment to train all teachers, so they are able and confident in spotting the signs of mental illness in children and intervening as early as possible.
According to the Department for Education, more than 60% of schools, including 84% of secondary schools, offer counselling services to pupils. However, previous research has found that many schools are forced to provide this support, at least in part, from their own budget.
“Too many of us have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of mental illness, which is why tackling this burning injustice has always been a personal priority for me,” said Theresa May back in June, in her final days as Prime Minister.
“It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention.”
For more information about children and young people’s mental health and the support available, visit Counselling Directory. You can also search for therapists in your area by entering your location in the box below.