Press release

Hundreds of schools benefit from £3m mental health investment

Education Secretary announces 22 pilot areas across the country to improve mental health services for children in 255 schools.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has joined forces with NHS England to launch a multi-million pound joint mental health pilot scheme for hundreds of schools.

The Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots will test a named single point of contact in 255 schools and in 22 pilot areas, meaning more joined-up working between schools and health services. This has been backed by £3 million of government funding.

It will mean children and young people have better access to local, specialist mental health provision, and that support is consistent across services.

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said:

Mental health is a key priority for this government and for me personally. The development of character, resilience and good mental health is vital alongside academic success in equipping young people with the skills needed to fulfil their potential.

That’s why I’m delighted to see these schools engaging in joined-up approaches with mental health services to ensure that children, parents and teachers know where to turn and how to access the best support for young people with mental health concerns.

Funded jointly by the Department for Education and NHS England, each of 27 clinical commissioning groups are working with at least 10 schools to trial this new way of working with a named lead across services.

These were chosen from more than 80 applications to receive a boost of up to £85,000 per area.

The single point of contact in the schools will be responsible for developing closer relationships with a counterpart in local NHS CAMHS services to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health issues, and to help ensure any referrals are timely and appropriate.

They will be supported in the work through a series of training days. The work will be evaluated nationally to understand the impact of joint working.

Dr Jackie Cornish, National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England, said:

This is an opportunity for CCGs and schools to work together more closely, trial a new way of thinking and a new model. Our aim is to significantly improve the care and experience we can offer to children and young people with mental health problems.

We know that if we can help young people effectively at the earliest possible age we can gain the best possible outcome for them in the long run and that is why we are focusing our attention to improve joint working with schools.

This investment is building on a £1.4 billion government investment in children and young people’s mental health over the next 5 years. This is a key government priority, as part of the drive to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health.

The pilot is part of the vision set out in the ‘Future in mind’ report, which made a number of proposals on how mental health services could be improved, including for children and young people.

Minister for Mental Health, Alistair Burt, said:

When a young person is brave enough to ask for help from their school or doctor, we should never let them fall through the gap because services aren’t in touch with each other. That is why this initiative is so important.

Children and young people’s mental health is one of my personal priorities and these pilots are part of the biggest transformation to young people’s mental health that the sector has seen.

Notes to editors

  1. The £3 million funding backing the pilots includes £1.7 million made available from NHS England and £1.5 million from the Department for Education.
  2. The lead CCGs that received funding are:
    • East and North Hertfordshire
    • South Cheshire
    • Bedfordshire
    • Salford
    • East Riding of Yorkshire
    • Tameside and Glossop
    • Walsall
    • Halton
    • Birmingham
    • Camden
    • West Hampshire
    • Brighton and Hove
    • Sunderland
    • Gloucestershire
    • Somerset
    • Hammersmith and Fulham
    • Waltham Forest
    • Tower Hamlets
    • Chiltern
    • Wigan
    • Haringey
    • Sheffield
  3. The ‘Future in mind’ report set out very clearly the challenges faced in getting mental health support to children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. That’s why we are delivering one of the greatest investments the sector has seen, with an investment of £1.4 billion in children and young people’s mental health services over the next 5 years.
  4. Sam Gyimah is the first minister in DfE to have specific responsibility for mental health in his portfolio.
  5. We have appointed Natasha Devon as our first mental health champion. She will use her experience to encourage more young people to talk openly about mental health issues.
  6. To improve teaching about mental health we funded the PSHE Association to produce guidance and lesson plans to support teachers to deliver age-appropriate lessons on mental health in PSHE education.
  7. In March we published a blueprint for school counselling services that provides schools with practical, evidence-based advice informed by schools and counselling experts on how to deliver high-quality school-based counselling.
  8. Last year we also published advice and guidance on mental health and behaviour to help schools support young people with mental health needs, including making referrals to a specialist service if necessary.
  9. We are investing £5 million in character education, and, as part of this investment, we have awarded £3.5 million grants to support 14 projects to help build character. The range of activities include:
    • volunteering and social action
    • youth and after-school opportunities, such as cadet and scouts clubs
    • links with local businesses and work experience
    • teacher training
    • peer mentoring
    • targeted one-to-one coaching or counselling for some of our most vulnerable children
  10. We are also providing nearly £5 million to 17 VCS projects delivering support to children and young people with mental health issues. These include projects to promote positive mental health in schools.
  11. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) with local partners have submitted their local transformation plans (LTPs) that set out the changes local areas want to make to improve the outcomes for children and young people with mental health problems over the next 5 years. Plans are currently being assured and will be published by the end of December.

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