In December 2017 the Department of Health and Department of Education in Westminster jointly published their green paper on Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision.

Applying to England only, the paper sets out the Government’s ambition for children and young people’s mental health. It pays particular attention to the roles that schools and colleges can play in both providing services and improving outcomes.

The three key proposals from the green paper are:

  • Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health appointed in schools
  • the creation of Mental Health Support Teams to support schools by delivering some interventions and offering training
  • introduction of a four week waiting time target for access to children’s and young people’s NHS mental health services in areas piloting Mental Health Support Teams

What we think

While we welcome the Government’s renewed focus on children and young people’s mental health, we are concerned that the recommendations miss an opportunity to deliver the most effective mental health support in our schools and colleges.

We are particularly disappointed that the Government has not included a commitment to universal provision of school-based counselling. That is despite these being services available to all children across Wales and Northern Ireland and the Department for Education’s own expectation, set out in Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future, that all schools should provide access to counselling services.

We also have broader concerns around the waiting times targets, the long-term funding commitments for the green paper proposals and the level of training required to upskill Designated Senior Leads in schools and members of the Mental Health Support Teams.

What we're doing

We're currently preparing our response to the joint Department of Education and Department of Health consultation on the green paper proposals. We'll also be working with politicians, civil servants and other organisations from the mental health and education sectors to put forward the case for expanding counselling support in schools and colleges.

We’ll publish regular updates and the latest news here on the website.

What you can do

Respond to the consultation

We urge all members with experience of working in schools and colleges to respond to the Government’s consultation. You can find further details on the Government’s own pages:

Contact your local MP

We’d like all members to contact their MP to let them know that the Government is missing a golden opportunity to give all children and young people equal access to effective counselling interventions in our schools and colleges. The same rights as children and young people in Wales and Northern Ireland enjoy.

We’ve produced an email letter you can quickly send to your local MP by just inputting your name, email address and postcode. To take part, go to bacp.e-activist.com.

The consultation ends at midday on 2 March 2018.