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Gyimah handed role to strengthen children's mental health services

Gyimah handed role to strengthen children's mental health services

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah has been handed responsibility for strengthening Department for Education links with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Liaising with CAMHS teams was previously an unofficial element of children's minister Edward Timpson’s role, as part of his remit covering special educational needs and adoption.

Former childcare minister Liz Truss, who is now Environment Secretary, also had an unofficial role linking with CAMHS services as part of her early years brief.

But following the recent ministerial reshuffle, the DfE has revealed newly recruited childcare minister Sam Gymiah has taken on the role in an official capacity.

The move has been welcomed by Chris Leaman, policy manager at Young Minds.

“It is always important that there are strong links between the Department for Education and CAMHS," he said.

"We welcome the prominence that this vital link has been given in the new ministerial roles.

“We need education and CAMHS to have a successful working relationship if we are to see early intervention for mental health problems and resilience building available for all children and young people in educational settings.”

The move comes a month after the government announced the launch of a taskforce to improve CAMHS services following concerns raised by NHS England about inappropriate care and bed shortages.

It also comes amid concern over funding cuts to CAMHS services. A petition by Young Minds against the cuts has now been signed by 15,000 people.

Another to welcome Gymiah’s CAMHS role is National Children's Bureau policy officer Keith Clements.

“Cross-government working is key ensuring we realise all opportunities to support children and young people's emotional resilience and mental health. Schools, in particular, are a public service with tremendous reach and have always had a key role to play," he said.

“We hope that this development, alongside the announcement of the Department of Health-sponsored CAMHS taskforce, will pave the way for a broad-based action plan on children and young people's mental health.”

A DfE spokesman added: “We are formalising this role as part of Sam Gymiah’s responsibilities but Edward Timpson will still be involved and work closely with him on this.”

Gymiah’s responsibilities also include early years, early intervention and childcare. He is also a minister in the Cabinet Office, covering constitutional affairs.

Story Courtesy of CYP

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