More help for children with mental health problems
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
More children with mental health problems will soon be able to access better services, said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg today as he announced new investment in psychological therapies and training for those who work with young people.
The ‘groundbreaking’ Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) project will benefit from up to £22m over the coming three years. It aims to reach more children with mental health disorders, including self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders and depression, through non-health settings such as schools and youth groups.
The Department of Health said research had shown that about a tenth of 5-16-year-old children has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, and a tenth of 15-16-year-olds say they have self-harmed; it adds that half of adults with long-term mental disorders report that their symptoms first appeared before they were 14 years old. It says that increasing the availability of appropriate services, and encouraging children to be open about mental illness, will allow earlier intervention – which should improve outcomes in terms of employment and life quality.
The funding will be spent on improving access to a wider range of psychological therapies and other treatments, as well as on increasing the level of training and experience of not just NHS clinicians, but also teachers, social workers and counsellors who work with young people.
Mr Clegg said: “Too many young people suffer in silence with mental health problems.
“Mental health must have the same priority as physical health. Giving children the treatment they need as soon as they need it will help ensure that millions of children suffering from a mental health problem will have a fairer opportunity to succeed in life.”
Chief executive of the charity YoungMinds Sarah Brennan, said: “Intervening early when a child or young person starts struggling to cope is proven to reduce the likelihood of that young person developing much more severe and entrenched mental health problems… It is vital that we invest in children and young people’s mental health in order to prevent a generation of children suffering entrenched mental health problems as adults.”