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£79m mental health support for children and young people

Millions more children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services, backed by £79 million, it has been announced.

The number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges will grow from 59 to 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. 

Throughout the pandemic, these teams have continued to work virtually, providing vital support for young people during lockdown. Schools have hailed their success in supporting both students and staff. 

Access to community mental health services will also be expanded, giving 22,500 more children and young people access to help and support by 2021/22 - including talking therapies and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

This accelerates the commitment to expand services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, which will see an additional 345,000 more children and young people access mental health services by 2024. 

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Over the last year, great focus has rightly been placed on our physical health, but I am incredibly conscious of the impact the pandemic has had on peoples' mental health and wellbeing. 

“Children and young people have been particularly impacted by disruption to their routine, education and social lives and I am committed to doing all I can to ensure mental health support is there for those who need it. 

“Our response to this global pandemic will not only treat the public health threat of coronavirus but ensure our clinicians have the resources to respond to the long-term impact on people’s mental health, to provide support to everyone in their hour of need.”

Children and young people facing a mental health crisis will continue to get support through 24/7 crisis lines and will benefit from additional funding to support follow-up crisis treatment at home where necessary.

Eating disorder services, for conditions like anorexia and bulimia, will also be accessible to an additional 2,000 children and young people in the community. This follows NHS England’s plans to expand rapid access to specialist NHS treatment for young people with eating disorders across England, aiming to contact patients within 48 hours and beginning treatment as soon as two weeks later.

Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Nadine Dorries said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult year, especially for our children and young people, and we know it is having a real impact on mental health. 

“This additional funding will mean children who need to can access services in the community as well as providing early intervention in schools. 

“I am committed to supporting everyone's mental health and wellbeing, and doing everything we can to ensure young people who need help, get help.”

Education staff will be supported to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a result of COVID-19 as they return to school, by the Wellbeing for Education Return programme backed by £8 million, and free online psychological training modules on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by emergencies or crisis situations. 


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