NEWS

Government Announces Plans to Transform Mental Health Care for Children

Lucy Donoughue
By Lucy Donoughue, updated on Dec 20, 2018

New Mental Health Support Teams will be created in 25 ‘trailblazer’ areas

Over half a million school-aged children across an estimated one fifth to one quarter of the country will see an improvement in access to mental health care provision by 2024, following plans announced by the Government today.

The announcement comes along with an additional sum of £20.5 billion in order to create new Mental Health Support teams that will be based in or near schools and colleges in ‘trailblazer’ areas.

These teams will build upon support already in place including school counsellors, the voluntary sector, nurses and educational psychologists. It will be the role of the Mental Health Support teams to help children with mild to moderate mental health challenges - and to ensure that those with more severe issues receive the help they need from specialist NHS Services.

Each of the 25 teams will support up to 8,000 children and young people and will be responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each. 12 of the trailblazers sites will pilot a four-week maximum waiting time for mental health care.

In addition to the provision of new Mental Health Support teams, the Department of Education will ensure a ‘whole school’ approach by funding training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges.

This announcement follows the release of research by NHS Digital which showed that one in nine young people aged five to 15 had a mental health condition in 2017 and that people who have a mental health disorder as a teenager are two and a half times more likely to experience mental health issues in adulthood.

Speaking about the announcement, Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price said:

"Early intervention is crucial when it comes to mental ill-health and today’s announcement will ensure that young people can immediately access life-changing support when the signs of mental health issues first appear, helping to prevent these problems from escalating further into adulthood.

"Encouraging young people to think about their mental wellbeing in the same way they do their physical aches and pains is a vital part of our goal to put mental and physical health on equal footing and will help ensure no young person is left to suffer in silence.

"It’s estimated one in four of us has a common mental disorder at any one time – I’m confident that by introducing improved access to critical care at a young age we are delivering on our promise to help people lead healthier lives for longer and build an NHS that’s fit for the future, which will be set out further in our Long Term Plan."

While the complete roll-out of this Government initiative is scheduled to have happened by 2024, training for some of the Mental Health Support Teams will start next month, January 2019. It is planned that these teams will be operational by December of the same year.

The 25 trailblazer areas are:

North:
North Kirklees CCG and Greater Huddersfield CCG
Northumberland CCG
Doncaster CCG and Rotherham CCG
Newcastle Gateshead CCG
South Tyneside CCG
Liverpool CCG
Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

Midlands and East:
Herts Valley CCG and East and North Hertfordshire CCG
Stoke on Trent CCG
Nottingham North East CCG and Rushcliffe CCG
South Warwickshire CCG
North Staffordshire CCG

South West:
Gloucestershire CCG
Swindon CCG

South East:
North Kent CCG Grouping: Swale CCG and Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG
Berkshire West CCG
Oxfordshire CCG
Buckinghamshire CCG

London:
SW London HCP – Wandsworth, Sutton and Merton CCGs
Tower Hamlets CCG
West London CCG
Haringey CCG
Bromley CCG
Camden CCG
Hounslow CCG

The 12 sites piloting the four-week waiting time are:

North:
Northumberland CCG
Doncaster CCG and Rotherham CCG
Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

Midlands and East:
Stoke on Trent CCG and North Staffordshire CCG
South Warwickshire CCG

South West:
Gloucestershire CCG

South East:
Oxfordshire CCG
Buckinghamshire CCG

London:
Tower Hamlets CCG
Bromley CCG
Camden CCG
Haringey CCG

Experts have previously expressed concern that an estimated 75-80% of young people will not be affected by these additional support measures by 2023.

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