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
Consultation on the green paper ended on 2 March 2018.
What we've done
We responded to the joint Department of Education and Department of Health and Social Care consultation on the green paper proposals, and to the joint Health and Education Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry.
We've also contacted MPs and Peers with an interest in mental health to raise our concerns and to call for the universal roll out of counselling in schools and colleges to be included within the green paper.
We want to say a big thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation directly and got involved in our call to action. Around 2,000 letters were sent to MPs, raising our shared concerns that counselling in schools and colleges isn’t included within the green paper and calling on them to challenge the Secretaries of State for Health and Education to change this.
Our consultation response
In our response, we commended the Government for their renewed focus on children and young people’s mental health but raised many concerns with the key policy proposals. Our main comments were:
- we feel that the proposals and the timescales for rolling out the proposals across the country lack ambition
- we're disappointed that the green paper failed to recognise the important role counselling and counsellors already play in 61% of schools and colleges throughout England
- we're broadly supportive of the idea behind Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health, but concerned that some of their proposed responsibilities are not appropriate for non-clinical staff
- we're concerned by the lack of detail for how Mental Health Support Teams will be staffed, what training staff will have and how they will work with existing services
- despite assurances to the contrary, we're concerned that the new capacity will end up replacing existing services rather that acting as genuine extra capacity
You can read our full response below:
What happens next?
Now that the consultation has closed, we will monitor the progress of the green paper as the Government considers all the responses.
We’ll work both individually, and with our partners, to continue engaging the Government in conversations about the effectiveness of counselling and the important role it already plays in schools and colleges.
We’ll continue to bring you updates on the green paper over the coming months through our campaign pages