MP welcomes Government's plan to improve children's mental health
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed the Government’s announcement today (4 December) of a £300 million package of measures to improve mental health support for children and young people.
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has published new proposals including encouraging every school and college to have a ‘designated senior mental health lead’, setting up mental health support teams working with schools to give children and young people earlier access to services, and piloting a 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services.
The proposals address the key concern raised at a teenage mental health ‘summit’ which Mr Herbert held at Steyning Grammar School last month, at which young people and parents called for better support for teenagers with mental health problems.
Around 850,000 children – one in ten – have a diagnosed mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders, and around half of mental health conditions start before the age of 14.
One of the young people who spoke in Mr Herbert’s summit on the issue, Jake Boase, said: “Since suffering from severe anxiety, mental health has been the main focus of my life and making the present/future a better place for others to have the options available and to be taken seriously.
“The mental health summit was a great start in doing this, and I thank Nick Herbert for holding the event. It gave me a chance to have a voice for all the unheard sufferers out there, that things have to change, improve and most importantly to fight the stigma surrounding such a serious issue.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health and deserves the same support and understanding. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, but the stigma around it is. Together, we need to make a change. I hope this is a start of many more discussions within parliament.”
In an article in The Sun, Jeremy Hunt said: “Childhood should be the happiest time in life, but for those experiencing poor mental health, it can be anything but.
“It can have a devastating impact on their physical health, their relationships and their future prospects.
“We need hard action to ensure our young people get the support they need to stay well and help them achieve their true potential.
“So today, the Government is delivering on its commitment and launching a new £300 million plan to improve support for children and young people’s mental health.”
Nick Herbert said: “I welcome this plan for better support for young people with mental health problems, which was the key request from our summit. I want to see much more being done to help young people like Jake, with the right support being made available at the earliest opportunity.”
1. To read Nick’s news release about his Teenage Mental Health Summit see here
2. The Government’s proposals to improve mental health support for children and young people in England can be read at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-proposals-on-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health.
3. To read Jeremy Hunt’s article in The Sun see https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5054117/government-mental-health-children-young-people-jeremy-hunt/.