Thank you for contacting me about children and young people's mental health.
I share your concern about the unique impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people's mental health, in particular the potential consequences of being separated from their peers. I therefore very much welcomed the move to Stage Four of the Government's roadmap which means the bubble policy has ended, ensuring that as many children as possible are in school in the autumn term.
I want to assure you that the Government is committed to building back better for every young person, and I am delighted that mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of recovery plans. More than £17 million has been announced to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes a new £7 million Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme, which provides free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year – including trauma, anxiety or grief.
I understand that this programme builds upon the success of the Department for Education’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return, used by more than 90 per cent of councils since its launch. Additionally, I know that the Mental Health in Education Action Group will continue to build on this support for all educational settings, staff, parents, children and young people. This group aims to better align the education and mental health sectors to address concerns among leaders and staff about how best to support their pupils and students post-pandemic.
I am also encouraged that millions more children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services. Backed by £79 million of Government investment, mental health support teams in schools and colleges will grow from 59 to 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children.
This funding will also expand access to community mental health services, giving 22,500 more children and young people access to help and support by 2021 to 2022 - including talking therapies and cognitive behavioural therapy.
More broadly, it is welcome that mental health services will receive an extra £2.3 billion as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with a particular focus on children's and young people's mental health. This will give 345,000 more children mental health support.
I hope this reassures you that I am deeply committed to supporting the mental health of our children and young people, and will continue to closely monitor this important issue.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Richard Fuller MP