Government publishes green paper on children’s mental health

Each school will have designated mental health lead by 2025 under government proposals

Published on 5th December 2017

Every school and college will have a mental health lead by 2025, the government has announced.

Publishing a green paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health provision, the government stated that each school and college will have a designated lead in mental health. They will be a trained member of staff who is responsible for the school’s approach to mental health.

The green paper states that the designated lead will:

  • oversee the help the school gives to pupils with mental health problems
  • help staff to spot pupils who show signs of mental health problems
  • offer advice to staff about mental health
  • refer children to specialist services if they need to

The designated leads will be offered training to develop their skills in leading mental health work.

The green paper asks for people’s views on how children and young people should learn about mental health in school.

Mental health support teams will be working with schools and colleges, under the government’s proposals. The support teams will be trained staff linked to groups of schools and colleges who will work with the designated leads. They will offer individual and group help to young people with mild to moderate mental health issues including anxiety, low mood and behavioural difficulties. Mental health support teams will be the link between the NHS and schools.

The green paper outlines how the government wants to reduce the time it takes to get treatment from children and young people’s mental health services. Some of the areas with new mental health support teams will try out ways of reducing the time to wait for treatment to four weeks, quicker for young people who need very urgent help.

A new national partnership to improve mental health services for young people aged 16 to 25 will also be established. The partnership will start by deciding which areas to focus on, for example, student mental health, and looking at how universities, colleges, local authorities and health services work together.

The government also plans a drive to improve understanding of mental health and will work with the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, to explore how social media affects the health of children and young people. The Chief Medical Officer will produce a report in 2018 on the impact that technology has on children and young people’s mental health.

Families of young people with mental health problems will be better supported. The government will gather information to look at:

  • how parents and carers can bond better with their children, which helps their mental health
  • how we can support families where parents or their children have a higher risk of developing a mental health problem

The results of the research will be used to create guidance for local areas about the best parenting programmes. This will help local areas improve the support they give to families and get value for money.

Different mental health experts will also be brought together to look at how mental health problems can be prevented. The group of experts will consider the best evidence and look at where more research needs to be carried out to prevent mental health problems.

Green paper


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