The Government will release a Mental Health Green Paper that is set to improve access to mental health support at both school and college.
The new initiative includes a £300m investment over the next three years by the Departments of Health and Education. The aim is to provide further training for mental health professionals in schools, create a four-week waiting time for NHS children in need of support and a compulsory curriculum addressing mental health well-being.
The Government’s strategy is to prevent and address mental health issues as early as possible. Both the Education and the Health Secretary have emphasised the importance to of engaging with schools for early prevention:
Around half of all mental illness starts before the age of 14, so it is vital children get support as they need it- in the classroom
It’s about more expertise on the doorstep for schools, better organisation between schools and the health service and improving the waiting time steadily so that young people can get faster care
The announcement comes in the wake of a new report released by the Children’s Commissioner, indicating that we are in a ‘epidemic of anxiety’ as numbers of children receiving psychiatric treatment has risen drastically within one year. There were a total of 328,000 NHS psychiatry outpatient appointments for children in 2016/17, which is a significant increase from 241,000 in the year before.
Campaigners for mental health, have said that whilst the government’s announcement is “only a start” they welcome the initiative.