News story

Improved mental health therapies for children

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

One in ten children aged 5-16 years has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. At any one time, more than a million children will have a diagnosable mental health disorder and mental illness in childhood and adolescence costs up to £59,000 per child every year.

The Government is now investing £32 million in psychological therapies, including talking therapies, for children and young people with mental health problems.

Giving children the right help early on can provide better chances of finding a job and reduce the likelihood of them ending up in prison.

Health Minister Paul Burstow said:

‘We’re working with young people and staff to start to change the way mental health is delivered by the NHS. This pioneering work will focus on early and effective treatment.

‘We know psychological therapies work. Our aim is to transform existing mental health services for children so our children get the best treatment possible, from services that are more responsive to their needs.’

Earlier this year the Government published its mental health strategy - No health without mental health, which takes a life course approach with a focus on early and effective intervention, alongside extending psychological therapies to children and young people.

The Government asked universities and teaching providers to link up with local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) partnerships to transform services for children and young people’s mental health. The first phase of the project will invest in three collaboratives:

  • UCL (University College London)/KCL (King’s College London) as the joint HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) covering Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Greenwich, Lambeth & Southwark, Haringey, Westminster and Wandsworth.
  • Salford Cognitive Therapy Training Centre at Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust as the HEI covering North Pennine, South Pennine, Manchester & Salford, Derby and Barnsley.
  • Reading as the HEI covering Oxford, Swindon, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Bath & NE Somerset, Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole and Gloucestershire.

CAMHS works alongside schools, families and other services to support the need of young people in a diverse way. Any organisation seeking funding had to tell us how they are going to involve children, young people and families to consider the service change necessary, and each successful local partnership will have an allowance in their budget for participation.

As part of embedding best evidence based practice, the Chief Medical Officer and the NHS Medical Director will write to clinicians to remind them of the NICE guidelines available on a range of mental health conditions, including ADHD, causing poor mental health in children and teenagers.

Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

‘I welcome and applaud today’s announcement, both as President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and as a child psychiatrist working at Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust. This is the first phase of an investment that can, and will, make a real difference to improving the mental health and lives of children and young people.’

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds said:

‘Children and young people tell us they want increased access to talking therapies, to be centrally involved in decisions about their care and for clinicians to be trained to make these possible. The Children and Young People’s IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) programme is unique in achieving all the above in one initiative.

‘We are facing challenging times for children and young people so we look forward to this initiative developing and growing so greater numbers can benefit in the future.’

Read the press release