Helen Clark, Campaign Manager for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign and Lead Author for the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood today claimed that ‘A partial victory’ had been achieved:
‘By everyone who has campaigned tirelessly to persuade Boris Johnson’s Government that children have suffered during this pandemic and must have help as of urgency to address their mental health needs now and in the aftermath of this terrible disease.
Today’s announcement is a welcome first step and we must re-double our efforts to encourage the Government to build on it.’
With schools due to return on March 8th Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock has said that:
• £79 million of the previously announced £500 million investment in mental health will be specifically allocated to support the mental health of children and young people
• The number of the new mental health support teams will increase from 59 at present to a projected 400 by April 2023
• There will be a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing provided through training sessions for parent and workshops for teachers
• Access to community mental health services will be expanded giving an additional 22,500 more children an young people access to help and support by 2021-2022
• Services will be expanded as part of the NHS Long Term Plan which will see an additional 345,000 more children and young people access mental health services by 2024
• Eating disorder services will be made accessible to an additional 2,000 children and young people within the community
• Children and young people facing a mental health crisis will continue to get support through 24/7 crisis lines and additional funding will support follow-up crisis treatment at home where necessary
• Public Health England has a series of dedicated resources on the Every Mind Matters website : https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ to help children, young pele and their parents tackle issues such as anxiety, mental health and uncertainty
Helen Clark commented:
‘I hope that the Government will now build on these modest measures by announcing a full Mental Health Recovery Strategy for Children and Young People in the House of Commons and make that the centrepiece of one of the Government’s national press conferences.
Unless people are alerted in a very public way, they will have no idea what is available for them and these measures should also be subject to scrutiny in the House of Commons as is usual with important announcements.
This is a fair start after so many months of silence but I see it as the beginning rather than the end of a conversation about how the Government will ensure that the mental health of all children and young people is the very best that it can be.
I anticipate – and expect – that we will be hearing much more.’