More Than a Million Children Given Access to NHS Mental Health Support at School 

Priscilla Lynch 

May 12, 2021

More than a million children and young people will have access to mental health support at school, as the NHS rapidly expands services to help deal with the huge disruption caused by coronavirus and lockdown.

From this year, expert teams are offering support to children experiencing anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues.

Around 400 mental health support teams will be up and running covering 3000 schools in England, offering support to almost three million pupils, by 2023.

Referrals can be made by teachers or GPs as well as by young people themselves via the texting service in established areas.

The roll-out represents a dramatic acceleration of the programme announced in the NHS Long Term Plan, funded from £79 million to boost mental health support for children and young people in England, which is part of £500 million Government pot for investment in mental health services.

The funding will also enable around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services in 2021/2022 and around 2,000 more to access eating disorder services in 2021/2022.

The NHS has also introduced 24/7 crisis support lines, face to face, telephone or digital appointments, so issues can be identified and help given sooner.

Mental health problems among 5- to 16-year-olds in England have risen from one in 10 in 2017 to around one in six last summer, according to NHS Digital data.

More than one in four children has had trouble sleeping, whereas one in 10 often or always felt lonely during the pandemic, according to one recent study.

Claire Murdoch, Mental Health Director for NHS England, said: "Children have had their normal routines turned upside down during the pandemic whether it be curbs on their social life, school or their hobbies, and so it is only right that the NHS accelerates its mental health support for young people."

References:

More than a million children given access to NHS mental health support at school. NHS. 2021 May 8.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network

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