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Government confirms £79 million funding to boost children's mental health support

Government confirms £79 million funding to boost children's mental health support

The UK Government has confirmed £79 million in funding to boost mental health support for children and young people.

Under plans announced by the Government, the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges will increase to 400 by April 2023, up from 59. The increase is designed to support nearly 3 million children in England by providing advice over text messaging, offering advice to families and providing mental health and wellbeing training sessions or workshops for parents and teachers.

The Government is also aiming to expand access to community mental health services such as talking therapies and cognitive behavioural therapy. Eating disorder services will also be made accessible to an additional 2,000 children and 24/7 crisis lines for young people will remain operational.

The confirmation of funding and support comes ahead of school pupils in England returning to the classroom on Monday for the first time since before the implementation of a third national lockdown. The funding is part of a previously announced £500 million investment in mental health, with the Government confirming today that £79 million of that funding has been allocated to support children and young people's mental health.

Over the past year, children and young people have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, missing out on time in school, with friends and important personal development time.

According to NHS research, 1 in 6 young people may now have a mental health problem, up from 1 in 9 in 2017.

Discussing the support, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said;

"Children and young people have been particularly impacted by disruption to their routine, education and social lives and I am committed to doing all I can to ensure mental health support is there for those who need it.

"Our response to this global pandemic will not only treat the public health threat of coronavirus but ensure our clinicians have the resources to respond to the long-term impact on people’s mental health, to provide support to everyone in their hour of need."

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind has welcomed the news regarding the support, however, has said there is still "lots more work to be done". He said;

"It’s positive that the UK government have confirmed that £79 million of the previously announced £500 million investment in mental health has been allocated to support children and young people’s mental health. With schools re-opening in England next week, the commitment to having better mental health support for pupils cannot come soon enough.

"We know that high levels of poor mental health and problems accessing mental health services were a problem for many children and young people even before the pandemic, and that coronavirus has disproportionately affected younger people. Over the past year, our young people have faced a whole load of additional challenges, including school closures, loneliness and isolation, and the knock-on effect of the recession causing problems for families such as debt, unemployment, housing and access to benefits.

"There is still lots more work to be done to ensure that every young person gets the support they need for their mental health. But this is a positive step forward in cementing mental health at the heart of recovery from the pandemic and beyond."

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health has criticised the Government, saying the funding is "too little, too late";

"The Government are so desperate for a positive headline that they are now recycling money previously announced. This is not new funding. It’s a rehash of funding announced last year which is too little, too late.

"With Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services referrals doubling and children going back to school in a matter of days, these resources were needed much sooner.

"This is simply a small sticking plaster during a mental health crisis."

 

For information on where mental health support can be accessed during the current pandemic, click here.

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