Schoolchildren in the UK who suffer from depression and anxiety will soon have access to care and counselling.
The governmental strategy will offer support to children in need after a national examination of rising mental health issues in children. A severe lack of facilities and trained professionals was noted, as focus on the problem has increased in recent years. Some schoolchildren were waiting for exceptionally long times to be treated for conditions relating to anxiety and depression, with others receiving no assistance at all.
This is the first time that a structured programme to provide assistance to children and teenagers who are struggling with mental health problems.
Justine Greening, UK Education Secretary launched the paper last Sunday, December 3rd, along with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who stated: “Around half of all mental illness starts before the age of 14 so it is vital that children get support as soon as they need it – in the classroom. If we catch mental illness early we can treat it and stop it turning into something more serious.”
The new measures will ensure that no child will have to wait more than 4 weeks to see a specialist, ensuring that developing issues do not evolve or continue into adulthood.
The project will be receiving an additional £300 million in funding and each school in the UK will be ‘incentivised‘ to appoint a mental health specialist.
The scheme was broken down as follows:
- Piloting a new maximum four week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services.
- Ensuring every primary and secondary school in the country is offered mental health awareness training.
- Commissioning further research into evidence gaps across children’s mental health issues, including how better to support vulnerable families. (Sc, The Metro).
Set to launch in 2019, the majority of the funding will be used to establish the mental health units in schools across the country.