The first mental health support teams, announced in the children and young people's mental health green paper, will begin their training in January 2019.
The new mental health support teams will be based in and near schools and colleges in 25 areas and will start giving support in 2019. The first support teams will begin training at seven universities nationwide from January 2019.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: "Children and young people with mental illness should receive the same level of support as those with physical illness.
"Made possible by the extra £20.5 billion we are investing in the NHS, today’s announcement will see the health and education systems come together so our children can access the help they need at school, and takes us a step closer to achieving our goal of parity between mental and physical health," he added.
One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a mental health condition in 2017. Teenagers with a mental disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood.
The government announced their plans for the mental health support teams in the green paper and said the teams will be funded by government and will support designated mental health leads who will be based in each school to support to pupils with mild to moderate mental health problems including anxiety and low mood. These support teams will link the schools to the NHS. The senior mental health leads in schools and colleges will ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Each mental health support team will support up to 8,000 children and young people in around 20 schools and colleges in their ‘trailblazer’ area and will:
- build on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector.
- support children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues.
- help children and young people with more severe needs to access the right support, and provide a link to specialist NHS services.
The trailblazer sites will be set up in between one-fifth and one quarter of the country by 2023 to 2024. Plans for further expansion of children and young people’s mental health services will be set out in the NHS long-term plan.
Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds said: "Children today experience pressures that we as adults often find hard to appreciate, or possibly even understand. We are much more aware of mental health in the education sector now than in decades gone by and rightly so, and teachers are often able to recognise the early warning signs of changes in their pupils’ behaviour or mood, but they are not mental health professionals.
"That’s why, through these new support teams working with schools, we will speed up access to specialist services and make expert advice available to those who need it the most.
"We want to build on the range of excellent work that already takes place in schools and colleges. Supporting good mental health goes hand-in-hand with equipping young people with the qualifications, knowledge and resilience they need to live a fulfilling adult life.
"I want to make sure that our children are able to grow up to become happy and well rounded individuals, well set to deal with the challenges of the modern world.
"By making health education a required part of the curriculum ‒ teaching what good mental and physical health looks like, the important links between the 2 and how to seek help when needed ‒ we will help to give young people the tools they need to be ready to thrive when they leave school," he concluded.
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
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