NCB has reacted to the Government response to the consultation on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: A Green Paper.
With a quarter of teenage girls, and 1 in 10 boys suffering from symptoms of depression, we need urgent government action to support the significant numbers of children and young people in pressing need of mental health support, from the early years until adulthood.
Children’s mental health services have long been the poor relative within the health system, often leaving them unable to help in all but the most acute cases. With a significant expansion of the mental health workforce promised, the Government has a great deal of work ahead to make sure these staff are supported to provide help when and where it is needed.’
Having a designated member of staff in each school to lead on mental health issues should provide a means of responding to the broad spectrum of mental health challenges that children face. But this member of staff shoulders considerable responsibility. The Government has not made clear how the extra capacity within schools will be resourced so these staff are fully able to undertake the complex and time-consuming work of responding to the entire school’s mental health needs.
To really make progress, mental health and wellbeing needs to be a shared priority for everyone within the school community. Bringing about this ‘whole-school’ ethos should be something that the Government formally requires of schools, rather than a vague recommendation.
Like teachers, staff in nurseries and other early years settings need to be part of the Government’s mental health strategy, so they can work with parents to promote young children’s social and emotional development. Yet the Government has ignored this important opportunity to intervene early in the lives of children, so that mental health problems can be nipped in the bud.