Government to invest £300 million to improve mental health support in schools


The Government has announced a £300 million investment plan that is set to cause a radical shake-up of mental health support in schools.

Under the new plans, mental health support teams will be able to provide support and treatment to pupils on school premises, so they can tackle issues early and stop them developing.

In a highly anticipated green paper on children and young people’s mental health, the Government revealed plans to invest £95 million so schools will be able to appoint and develop senior leads for mental health.

These staff will be required to develop a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing within their school, and also provide assistance so students can access NHS treatments and specialist therapies.

A further £215 million will be used to fund mental health support teams, who will improve links between the NHS and schools and also deliver treatments to students.

Over the next five years, the Government hopes to be able to hire several thousand people, who will work with social workers, counsellors, school nurses and educational psychologists.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Around half of all mental illness starts before the age of 14, so it is vital children get support as soon as they need it - in the classroom.”

The new plans are also set to have an impact on waiting times for some of the more severe cases, with a new pilot programme introducing a four-week waiting time for some NHS services.

“Now it is crucial that services are given the resource to match the true scale of need so that all children and young people in need of mental health support are able to get it,” said Young Minds Chief Executive, Sarah Brennan.

According to figures from the NHS, around one in 10 girls between the ages of 16 and 17 were referred to specialist mental health services in 2016, highlighting the need for more improvements.

Pupils will also receive lessons about mental health and wellbeing, in an attempt to offer a more rounded relationship education.