Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has today published its State of Child Health: One year on scorecards today.
The scorecards describe progress against the series of recommendations, including to 'Maximise mental health and wellbeing throughout childhood' made a year ago in the RCPCH’s landmark State of Child Health report and are available for England, Scotland and Wales.
These reveal that the Scottish and Welsh Governments are making greater strides in enacting policies to improve child health, including Scotland’s new Mental Health Strategy.
Last year the report recommended that the Department for Education in England should ensure that appropriate mental health support is offered in all primary and secondary schools in England, including free schools and academies.
Today the report acknowledges significant progress in that the Prime Minister has announced new support for schools with every secondary school in the country to be offered mental health first aid training, and new trials to look at how to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff.
It also notes that a new green paper on children and young people’s mental health has been launched to set out plans to transform services in schools, colleges and for families.
Dr Andrew Reeves, Chair of BACP, says: “This is an important report card on the Government’s progress around children and young people’s mental health and significantly comes as we are considering the proposals in the Government’s green paper.
"Figures from the Department of Education’s Mental Health Support in Schools and Colleges survey show that 61% of schools currently have counselling support available to their students. Yet, instead of expanding successful and proven counselling services already in place, the green paper proposes new systems, including newly created Designated Senior Lead posts and the Mental Health Support Teams.
"We are concerned that key proposals within the green paper might negatively impact the existing counselling workforce who deliver services in schools and colleges and importantly fail to deliver the services that will most benefit our children and young people.
"BACP wants to see, and will be recommending in its response to the green paper, that the UK Government puts provision for children and young people’s mental wellbeing in England and Scotland on a par with Wales and Northern Ireland by committing to deliver national school-based counselling strategies. We believe that provision should be extended to all colleges too.”