NHS England has announced a £40m cash injection for mental health services for children and young people, to address increasing demand and the COVID-19 impact on mental health.

The funding boost will be used to address, among other things, the increasing demand for the treatment of eating disorders in this age group.

In addition, £10m capital funding will be used to provide extra beds at units which provide care for young people with complex needs, including eating disorders. A further £1.5m will ensure there are additional facilities for children under the age of 13 years.

In a statement, the NHS said the extra funding is on top of the £79m made available by the government to support children and young people’s mental health in the community.

This included increasing access to crisis and eating disorder services, as well as rolling out new mental health support teams.

The extra funding, announced this week, comprises £30m revenue and £10m capital, which will be used for a number of schemes.

That includes supporting services to prevent the need for admission and training staff working with children with mental health issues, to ensure they have the skills to manage such conditions even if they are not specialist mental health staff.

More funding will also go toward establishing an intensive community support role, in a bid to prevent children from being admitted to hospitals and facilitating earlier discharge where possible.

This investment will enable the training of 96 associate practitioner psychologists, who will be trained to practice under close supervision with young people with complex and severe mental health conditions.

“This additional funding is in recognition of the rising demand and our continued commitment to provide the best care as early as possible and to do as much to prevent children and young people needing hospital treatment as we do to ensure that when they are in hospital they receive the right treatment before being supported back at home,” said Claire Murdoch, national mental health director, NHS England.