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Child Mental Health Green Paper is unambitious and ignores hundreds of thousands of children, say Select Committees

New “Trailblazer” pilot projects to be rolled out too slowly

The Government's proposed Green Paper on Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health lacks ambition and will provide no help to the majority of those children who desperately need it, say the Education and Health and Social Care Committees in a joint report.

The Committees are worried that the long timeframes involved in the Government's strategy will leave hundreds of thousands of children and young people unable to benefit from the proposals. The Government is rolling out new "Trailblazer" pilot projects where mental health teams provide extra support alongside waiting time targets. But these schemes are set to roll out in only a fifth to a quarter of the country by 2022/23.

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said:

"The Green Paper is just not ambitious enough and will leave so many children without the care they need. It needs to go much further in considering how to prevent mental health difficulties in the first place. We want to see more evidence that Government will join up services in a way which places children and young people at their heart and that improves services to all children rather than a minority."

Chair of the Education Committee, Rob Halfon MP, said:

"The Government must back up its warm words by taking urgent action to address the mental health issues which children and young people face today. This strategy does not go far enough, which raises the very real prospect of hundreds of thousands of children missing out on the getting the help they so desperately need. We heard of the strong links between social disadvantage and mental health issues. If the Government is serious about tackling injustices in our society, it must ensure proper targeted funding of support for those most in need. Ministers should also recognise the separate support needs of apprentices and FE students. Social media is an increasing part of young people's lives. Given both the negative and positive impacts it can have on young people's mental health, social media education should be made a compulsory part of PHSE in all schools."

For the full report, click here. For the summary, click here. For the conclusion and recommendations, click here.