‘No long-term plan’ for young people’s mental health

An investigation by MPs on the House of Commons’ Committee of Public Accounts has reported that work to train up sufficient numbers of mental health staff has progressed “more slowly than planned” and that the government has “no comprehensive, long-term plan” for the implementation of its Future in Mind programme, which set out a cross-sector vision for how to support children and young people’s mental health. The government has committed to “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health, but the report from MPs concludes that what this means in practice is “still unclear”.

At CACHE we support the drive for improved access to quality mental health services for young people, and call upon government to refocus on delivering the vision set out in its ‘Future Mind’ programme. We understand the important impact mental health support can have on the lives of young people and have developed a broad range of qualifications to support learners and educators in increasing their awareness around the subject of mental health. These qualifications can equip learners with the knowledge needed to better understand and deal with their own mental health and the mental health of others. 

Recent NHS statistics show that 1 in 8 (12.8 per cent) 5 to 19-year-olds have a mental health disorder and there has been an increase in the number of 5 to 15-year-olds who suffer from an emotional disorder. Only 3 in 10 children and young people with a mental health condition received the NHS treatment they needed in 2017/18. Many more faced “unacceptably long waits for treatment”.

The government has previously been criticised for the slow roll-out of an initiative to train and set up mental health support teams in 25 “trailblazer” areas, which is scheduled to begin later this year. The teams will treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school and will help children and young people with more severe needs to access the right support, providing a link to specialist NHS services.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “Through these new support teams working with schools we will speed up access to specialist services and make expert advice available to those who need it the most. We want to build on the range of excellent work that already takes place in schools and colleges.”