- Govt proposals could help schools focus on pupils’ psychological welfare and happiness.
- Priority must be that children and young people can access mental health support early.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
‘These proposals could mark an important milestone in how children access mental health support. Although much will depend on the detail, the emphasis on prevention and early intervention at school is particularly welcome. The Government should implement these reforms without delay, so that children don't have to wait a day longer than necessary for the help they need."
‘New funding for a senior member of staff to lead on mental health work could help schools to focus on pupils’ psychological welfare and happiness, and tackle other pressing issues such as bullying.
‘We know that by the time they reach 14, one in four girls and one in ten boys, will be suffering from symptoms of depression. Many of these young people don’t qualify for specialist help: now they could get a lifeline through the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams.
‘Four-week waiting time targets will help restore young people’s faith in the system, and send the important message that mental health is as important as physical health. However, as NHS England recently made clear, the health system is struggling to meet existing targets, emphasising the need for this new commitment to be backed up with adequate resources.
‘It’s also vital that we don’t forget about young people aged 16-25 in urgent need of mental health support. We know that vulnerable groups such as care leavers and young people with disabilities and special educational needs often struggle with the transition to adulthood, and the Government must set out how the new system will meet their needs.
‘While it will take time to get these changes right, the priority must be that children and young people can access support early.’