Community projects across England are to receive a share of £3.3m to improve mental health support, counselling, mentoring and arts for young people.
NHS England say the funding, being allocated to 23 projects, 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 have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people or those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Earlier this year the government pledged to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness through better access to education, training and support across communities. This included a commitment to train all teachers to spot the signs of mental illness in children, making sure they can intervene before issues escalate.
Projects receiving funding include:
- LifeLine Community Projects in Barking and Dagenham will receive over £298,000 to expand their work with young people most at risk of poor mental health, with preventative support to stop problems escalating and reduce pressure on NHS services
- York Mind will receive £50,000 to expand their Arts Award programme, which connects young people to the arts, enabling them to increase their skills, confidence, sense of identity and reduce isolation, alongside one-to-one support
- The Proud Trust’s Peer Support Project in Manchester will receive over £23,000 to support more LGBT young people through life-changing events, including discovering their sexuality/gender and coming out
The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector. The projects will be fully funded through the scheme in their first year and additional joint funding from local commissioners will be agreed for two years afterwards.
One of the aspirations of the NHS Long Term Plan is that 345,000 more children and young people have access to mental health support by 2024, including via mental health support teams in and around schools which hopes to improve early intervention and prevention.
NHS England says the latest announcement follows last summer’s funding increase to the NHS budget, which will see the health service receive an extra £33.9 billion more every year by 2024 to support the NHS Long Term Plan.
Kathy Roberts, the chief executive of the Association of Mental Health Providers, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan made a number of promises for mental health in the next 10 years, including the much-needed scaling up and improvement of support for children and young people.
“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.”
Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries said: “We know children and young people today face many pressures at home and in their social and academic lives but giving them easily accessible mental health support at an early age can help them thrive later in life.
“That’s why the government is investing billions every year to transform mental health care, and giving more money to innovative, community-led projects run by people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to supporting young people by providing them with the tools and means they need to manage their own mental health.”