Resources and investment for children's mental health, discussed in parliament

Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health) asked the Secretary of State for Health last week, what steps his Department is taking to ensure adequate investment in early intervention treatments for child and adolescent mental health services.  Jackie Doyle-Price (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health) responded that Children and young people’s (CYP) mental health is a top priority for the Government and that they are clear that early intervention is vital. There was little detail about how child and adolescent mental health will be supported, but many practitioners and schools are concerned that the imminent Green Paper will only add to the work load of many already "overloaded" staff. 

Although she added that the Government are making an additional £1.4 billion available for transformation of CYP mental health services from 2015/16 – 2019/20, and have committed to ensuring an additional 70,000 CYP a year will access National Health Service mental health treatment by 2020, it is difficult to know if this money will help to equip comprehsive services or will be instead used to "plug the gap" and meet waiting times targets for initial appointments. This could mean that less experienced staff are available to deliver the right treatment.  The need for choice and comprehensive multi-dsciplinary assessments to be available within services is key and goes beyond the immediate problem of long waiting times.

The Government will shortly be publishing a joint Green Paper on CYP mental health with the Department for Education, which it claims will focus very much on early intervention.