Mental health problems affect a significant number of children and young people, with the most recent data suggesting that one in ten children and young people has some form of clinically diagnosable mental health disorder. This means around 850,000 children and young people may a diagnosable mental health disorder in the UK today.
Children and young people with mental health problems are more likely to have negative experiences early on that can damage their life chances as they grow towards adulthood. This affects education, relationships, health, future employment and income.
Some of my own constituents have had difficulties in accessing mental health services for their children. In some cases, support from the NHS is only available when problems get very serious, is not consistently available across the country, and young people can sometimes wait too long to receive that support. Some schools and colleges find it difficult to offer enough help.
I strongly support the Government’s Green Paper which sets out measures to improve mental health support for children and young people.
The Green Paper focuses on earlier intervention and prevention, especially through schools and colleges.
The proposals include:
• Every school will have a designated, senior person responsible for co-ordinating counselling services and other forms of support.
• Recruiting thousands of professionals to form new mental health support teams, which will dramatically expand the range of treatments that can be offered in or near schools and colleges.
• Piloting a new waiting time standard in some areas for children to be seen within four weeks by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional if they need it.
I encourage parents, teachers, medical professional and anyone with an interest to contribute to the consultation which closes on 2 March 2018.
You can access the consultation at: https://engage.dh.gov.uk/youngmentalhealth/children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-consultation/
I would also ask that any constituents who are having difficulties in accessing mental health services for their children contact me directly.