The Government has announced an injection of £3.3 million to expand 23 local projects supporting children and young people’s mental health.
‘Thousands’ of young people are set to benefit from the new initiative, which includes counselling, mentoring and arts programmes in their communities.
The funding comes as part of the government’s commitment to transforming mental health care – backed by an extra £2.3 billion a year through the NHS Long Term Plan – and will be spread across 23 ‘life-changing’ projects across England.
The boost will allow more children and young people aged 25 and under to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems.
The projects also have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as LGBT young people or those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The funding comes hot on the heels of reports that a record number of children are being hospitalised for eating disorders, and also comes at a similar time to the NHS opening a young people’s gambling addiction service.
The NHS Long Term Plan has made a “number of promises for mental health in the next ten years, including the much-needed scaling up and improvement of support for children and young people,” explained Kathy Roberts, CEO of the Association of Mental Health Providers.
She continued to say that the voluntary sector has a “key role” in transforming mental health care, and offers a “range of support for children and young people.
“The sector is innovative, has reach into communities, and there is huge potential to expand and scale up its offer. Association of Mental Health Providers therefore welcomes the Health and Wellbeing Fund’s focus on this important area and the funding of 23 exceptional Voluntary and community sector projects.”
Earlier this year the government pledged to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness via better access to education, training and support across communities, including a commitment to train all teachers to spot the signs of mental illness in children, making sure they can intervene before issues escalate.