Response to the Government’s £22 million investment in young people’s psychological therapies

Release Date: 28 February 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Barbara McIntosh, Head of Children and Young People’s Programmes at the Mental Health Foundation, says:

“We are delighted that the Government has committed to invest a further £22 million in psychological therapies for children and young people. At a time of austerity and cuts, it is encouraging that the issue of mental health, particularly children and young people’s mental health, is being given priority on the public health agenda.

The extension of psychological therapies outside of clinical health settings, and into schools and youth groups, is something we have called for, supporting a move away from crisis intervention to early intervention. However, we must ensure that these services are developed and commissioned with the voice and views of young people. Our work with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation on the Right Here project is showing that when young people work collaboratively with health professionals, effective and innovative early interventions are established that better meet the unique needs of young people at risk of developing mental health problems.

We are pleased that the skills and experience of NHS clinicians will be extended, as delivering psychological therapies to children and young people requires a very different skill set than that required to deliver such therapies to adults. It is equally important that professionals such as teachers, social workers and counsellors also receive training as awareness of mental health and child development is essential for both nurturing good wellbeing and identifying mental health problems early. This is particularly relevant for school settings where we know that in an average classroom 10 young people will have witnessed their parents separate, 8 will have experienced physical violence, sexual abuse or neglect, 1 will have experienced the death of a parent, and 7 will have been bullied*.

We must remember that this is not ‘job done’. Children’s mental health needs to be supported from the day they are born, as a child’s early years are crucially important in terms of developing good mental wellbeing and emotional resilience for their lifetime.”

 

Reference:
* Faulkner, J. (2011) Class of 2011 yearbook: How happy are young people and does it matter? Doncaster, Relate.