Annual review of children's mental health announced

A ‘State of the Nation’ report will be published every year highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being

Published on 11th October 2018

The government is set to review children's mental health annually, the prime minister has announced.

Starting in 2019, the government will publish a ‘State of the Nation’ report every year on World Mental Health Day, highlighting the trends and issues in young people’s mental well-being. This is the first time children’s mental health will be reported in this way, alongside their physical health and academic attainment.

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14 and one in four children has a diagnosable mental health problem.

Theresa May also announced that recruitment has now begun for new mental health support teams who will work with schools to ensure young people with mental health issues get the help they need. Trainees will begin studying in January and join schools across England next year.

The prime minister revealed that the government will provide tools to help schools measure their students’ health, including their mental wellbeing which will build on the government commitment to make education in mental health and resilience a compulsory part of the curriculum.

To mark World Mental Health Day, Theresa May stated that The Samaritans’ helpline will remain free for the next four years through new government funding of up to £1.8 million which will help ensure the charity can continue to provide immediate and lifesaving support to everyone who needs it, 24 hours a day.

She also announced that health minister Jackie Doyle-Price will become the UK’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention. Around 4,500 people take their own lives each year in England and suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45.

Ms Doyle-Price  will lead government efforts to cut the number of suicides and overcome the stigma that stops people seeking help.

The minister will lead a new national effort on suicide prevention, bringing together a ministerial taskforce and working with national and local government, experts in suicide and self-harm prevention, charities, clinicians and those personally affected by suicide.  She will also ensure every local area has an effective suicide prevention plan in place, and look at how the latest technology can be used to identify those most at risk.

The Prime Minister also announced the government’s new campaign Every Mind Matters  to train a million people in mental health awareness with a pilot in the West Midlands ahead of a national rollout next Spring.

Jackie Doyle-Price, Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and – now – Suicide Prevention, said: "I understand how tragic, devastating and long-lasting the effect of suicide can be on families and communities.

"In my time as health minister I have met many people who have been bereaved by suicide and their stories of pain and loss will stay with me for a long time.

"It’s these people who need to be at the heart of what we do and I welcome this opportunity to work closely with them, as well as experts, to oversee a cross-government suicide prevention plan, making their sure their views are always heard," she added.

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland welcomed the government’s announcement of funding towards Samaritans’ helpline, which will meet around 10 per cent of the total helpline costs for the next four years and help the organisation to continue to provide their service free of charge.

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