Prime Minister Announces Plan to Transform Mental Health Service

The Prime Minister has today announced a comprehensive plan that aims to transform mental health services with a particular focus on children and young people.

Speaking at the Charity Commission in London, she addressed the stigma attached to mental health stating that the Government aims to “transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, at every stage of life.”

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has also announced new suicide prevention measures which includes initiatives to better support people at risk of self-harm.

What this means for children and young people

The announcement from the Prime Minister included key areas that will impact on children and young people:

  • The Government will launch a major thematic review into Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across the country to find out what is, and what isn’t, working.
  • Every secondary school will receive ‘mental health first aid’ training and extra training for teachers in order to better support students experiencing mental health problems.
  • The Government aims to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff.
  • The Government will be investing in new digital tools for mental health alongside the suicide prevention strategy.

Our response

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, reaction to the speech:

"Children’s mental health services have been in crisis for years, so we are delighted that the Prime Minister is committing to making them a priority.

The sad reality is that services have been severely underfunded, and our research shows that not all of the new money the government has committed is going where it’s intended. If the government’s aspirations are to be achieved, as a minimum we need to make sure that the extra money reaches the front line and the vulnerable children who so desperately need support.”

Research by YoungMinds has shown that only half of Clinical Commissioning Groups have increased their spending on children’s mental health by as much as the extra money they were allocated this year. The other half are using some or all of the extra money for other priorities.

Reacting to the news about schools, Sarah Brennan said:
"While it’s really important to support children going through a crisis, we know that preventing mental health problems from developing in the first place is crucial. That's why schools need incentives and recognition for taking a 'whole-school approach' to promoting good mental health.”

On the suicide prevention strategy, Sarah Brennan said:
"When a child is going through a mental health crisis, getting the right support quickly can be life-saving. But at the moment, too many children are being placed on adult wards or in police cells, or treated in A&E departments that are crowded and stressful. It’s crucial that there are appropriate places for young people going through a crisis – but we also need to see investment in early intervention, so children get help when problems first emerge.”

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