A 'State of the Nation' report on children's mental health will be published every year, the prime minister has announced.
Theresa May said that from 2019, a ‘State of the Nation’ report will be published every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being. This is the first time children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment.
Theresa May said: "I have made parity of care a priority for our long-term plan for the NHS. As a result, our record investment in the NHS will mean record investment in mental health.
"We are not looking after our health if we are not looking after our mental health.
"So we need true parity between physical and mental health – and not just in our health systems – but in our classrooms, workplaces and communities too," she added.
She further announced that the government will provide tools to help schools measure their students’ health, including their mental wellbeing which will build on the government commitment to make education in mental health and resilience a compulsory part of the curriculum.
The prime minister also revealed that recruitment has now begun for new mental health support teams who will work with schools to ensure young people with mental health issues get the help they need. MHST were announced as part of the government's green paper on transforming children and young people's mental health. Trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year.
As it was revealed that around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45, Ms May also announced that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will become the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention and will lead government efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help.
Responding to Jackie Doyle-Price’s appointment as ministerial lead for suicide prevention, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We’re already making progress when it comes to suicide prevention – the suicide rate is at its lowest for seven years.
"But we need to do more to challenge the stigma that people with mental ill-health face and make sure they feel they can reach out for help.
"I am delighted we are appointing Jackie Doyle-Price as our dedicated Minister for Suicide Prevention, and I know she will make a real difference.
"Every suicide is a preventable death and we are determined to do everything we can to tackle the tragedy of suicide," he added.
The government also announced £1.8m funding for The Samaritans to enable its helpline to remain free for the next four years to enable the charity to continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day.
The Prime Minister also announced the government’s new campaign Every Mind Matters to train a million people in mental health awareness with a pilot in the West Midlands ahead of a national rollout next Spring.