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Bid to boost talking therapies for kids and teens

Government announces £32 million for adapted CBT and parenting therapy

Caroline White

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Government will invest £32 million in psychological therapies, including talking therapies, for children and young people with mental health problems, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has announced.

One in 10 children aged 5-16 years has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. At any one time, more than a million children will have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Psychological therapies have been successful in helping adults recover from anxiety and depression. But children and young people have very different needs to adults, so the intention is to adapt the successful parts of the adult programme for children and young people.

Paul Burstow said: “We’re breaking new ground with this investment in children’s mental health. Half of those with mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14, and three quarters before their mid-20s. This pioneering work will focus on early and effective treatment.”

Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, welcomed the announcement. “This is the first phase of an investment that can, and will, make a real difference to improving the mental health and lives of children and young people,” she said.

Earlier this year the government asked universities and teaching providers to link up with local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to develop services for children and young people’s mental health.

The first phase of the project will invest in three collaboratives in the South East, North West, and South West of England to provide training on cognitive behavioural therapy and parenting therapy.

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of charity YoungMinds said: “Children and young people tell us they want increased access to talking therapies, to be centrally involved in decisions about their care and for clinicians to be trained to make these possible. The Children and Young People’s IAPT programme is unique in achieving all the above in one initiative.”

She added: “We are facing challenging times for children and young people so we look forward to this initiative developing and growing so greater numbers can benefit in the future.”

The Chief Medical Officer and the NHS Medical Director will also be writing to clinicians to remind them of the NICE guidelines available on a range of mental health conditions, including ADHD, the Department of Health said.

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