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Support for children and young people’s mental health

Date:5 SEP 2023
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The House of Commons Library has published a briefing explaining the structure of mental health services for children and young people.

2022 survey by NHS Digital found that 18% of children aged 7 to 16 had a probable mental disorder, up from 12.1% in 2017 In November 2018. Among young people aged 17 to 19, the rates of probable mental disorder increased from 10.1% in 2017 to 17.7% in 2020. Between 2020 and 2021 the rates remained similar before increasing again between 2021 and 2022, from 17.4% to 25.7%.

413,000 people were in contact with children and young people’s mental health services as of April 2023, up from 389,000 a year earlier. This number has increased steadily in recent years: there were 219,000 people in contact with children and young people’s services pre-pandemic in April 2019.

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The briefing paper says: "In December 2017 a green paper on children and young people’s mental health was published for consultation, setting out measures to improve mental health support, in particular through schools and colleges. The green paper set out three key proposals:
  • To incentivise and support all schools and colleges to identify and train a Designated Senior Lead for mental health.
  • To fund new Mental Health Support Teams supervised by NHS children and young people’s mental health staff.
  • To pilot a four-week waiting time for access to specialist NHS children and young people’s mental health services.

The Government’s response to the consultation, published in July 2018, committed to taking forward all proposals in the Green Paper.

The NHS Long Term Plan (January 2019), restated the Government’s commitment to deliver the recommendations in The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and set out further measures, including:

  • By 2023/24, at least 345,000 additional children and young people (up to age 25) will be able to access mental health support through NHS services or school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams.
  • The NHS will work with schools, parents and local councils to embed school and college-based mental health support for children and young people. Mental Health Support Teams will be rolled out to between one-fifth and a quarter of the country by the end of 2023.

In 2022, the Government launched a discussion paper and call for evidence to inform a new cross-government, ten-year plan for mental health and wellbeing in England. However, it was later announced mental health would be covered alongside physical health conditions in an upcoming Major Conditions Strategy."

You can read the full paper here.