MPs are calling for evidence on children and young people’s mental health services as part of a new Parliamentary inquiry.

The Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee has launched the inquiry to examine the progress the Government has made in improving mental health services for children and young people since the publication of a green paper in 2017. The green paper outlined the investment in Mental Health Support Teams, which it said would cover 20 percent of the country by 2022.

This new inquiry will focus specifically on mental health support provision in schools, support on eating disorders and how services are accessed, including the waiting times before young people receive treatment.

We’ll be submitting evidence as part of the inquiry highlighting the need for a paid and professional counsellor in every secondary school, academy and further education college in England. We know that access to counselling services are being piloted in a handful of ‘trailblazer’ sites across England, however, this is geographically inconsistent.

We’ll be highlighting evidence that school counselling works and our fully costed delivery options for a nationally funded service and emphasising the support for our recent campaign from MPs and our members.

Much-need inquiry

Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “This is a much-needed inquiry and an opportunity for MPs to scrutinise again the Government’s policies in the green paper and for us to highlight the wide-ranging improvements and further investment needed in children and young people’s mental health support.

“The Government has to look wider than solely NHS services when it comes to working therapeutically with children and young people struggling with their mental health. School counselling can be one of the solutions to this.

“Having a paid counsellor in every secondary school, FE college and academy will reduce this anticipated demand on CAMHS services and ensure vital support to children and young people who do not meet NHS thresholds for such services.

“With young people facing more uncertainty and upheaval than ever before due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and school closures, there’s never been a more important time for the Government think beyond plans for Mental Health Support Teams to address the inconsistencies in access to mental health support.  

“The anticipated demand from young people due to the pandemic means we cannot wait for these pilots to be completed; measures need to be in place now.  We’ll be reiterating to the committee that there’s a highly skilled and qualified professional counselling and psychotherapy workforce available to work with children and young people immediately.” 

The committee is calling for written evidence to be submitted by Friday 26 February.

Read more about the inquiry