The Government has launched a Green Paper regarding Mental Health support for Children and Young People. In some cases, support from the NHS is only available when problems get really serious, is not consistently available across the country, and young people can sometimes wait too long to receive that support. Support for good mental health in schools and colleges is also not consistently available. The green paper sets out an ambition for earlier intervention and prevention, a boost in support for the role played by schools and colleges, and better, faster access to NHS services, in order to fill these gaps.
There is clear evidence that schools and colleges can, and do, play a vital role in identifying mental health needs at an early stage, referring young people to specialist support and working jointly with others to support young people experiencing problems. Around half of schools and colleges already have a dedicated lead for mental health. 61% of schools currently offer counselling, and 90% of schools and colleges offer staff training on supporting pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
The Green Paper identifies three key elements:
1. We will incentivise every school and college to identify a Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health to oversee the approach to mental health and wellbeing. All children and young people’s mental health services should identify a link for schools and colleges. This link will provide rapid advice, consultation and signposting.
2. We will fund new Mental Health Support Teams, supervised by NHS children and young people’s mental health staff, to provide specific extra capacity for early intervention and ongoing help. Their work will be managed jointly by schools, colleges and the NHS. These teams will be linked to groups of primary and secondary schools and to colleges, providing interventions to support those with mild to moderate needs and supporting the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing.
3. As we roll out the new Support Teams, we will trial a four week waiting time for access to specialist NHS children and young people’s mental health services. This builds on the expansion of specialist NHS services already underway.
The Green Paper includes a public consultation, all responses to the consultation including from those who have experience of mental ill-health or know someone close to them who has such experience. The consultation focuses on how the proposals in the green paper will be implemented.
This consultation has 21 questions. However, you do not have to answer all of them. Only answer those questions you want to or those which are relevant to you. The survey will be open for 13 weeks, in alignment with Cabinet Office guidance, and will close at noon on 2 March 2018.