A long-term plan to serve the nation’s children and young people

8 January 2019

CYPMHC response to the publication of the NHS Long-Term Plan

“The much-anticipated Long Term Plan for the NHS includes a welcome focus on the mental health and wellbeing of the nation. It has been nearly seven years since the commitment to achieving a parity of esteem between physical and mental health was put into statute – this plan must now make this a reality.

Funding for children and young people’s mental health services is to grow faster than the overall NHS funding and mental health spending for the first time ever according to the plan. This represents an important first step in helping expand services, but this funding must be incremental and protected to ensure it is spent only as intended.

There are several positive measures aimed at responding to the growing needs of children and young people through increasing access to specialist mental health provision and help in education settings. The focus on parental mental health and early years is crucial and will help ensure children have the best possible start in life.

It’s high-time that those experiencing mental health crises will receive appropriate and timely care and step-down provision to aid recovery. The most vulnerable children and young people will also benefit from measures aimed at tackling childhood adversity, such as sexual assault, and better mental health care for adults who are problem drinkers and smokers. Additional investment has also been allocated to ensure that children with eating disorders are diagnosed early and treated quickly.

However, a multi-faceted approach is also required to help prevent emerging mental health problems. We must look beyond NHS services and recognise the role of early intervention and prevention services in the community. This will require local multi-agency partnership working and planning to ensure children and young people receive appropriate and consistent support. This approach will also benefit young people transitioning between child and adult services and those with complex and multiple needs.

The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition has long been advocating for an integrated workforce strategy for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and are pleased to see a commitment to a new workforce implementation plan. This plan must reflect the role of all professionals working with children, young people and their families. We have concerns that against a backdrop of significant workforce challenges and inadequate funding in settings such as local public health, the objectives in the long-term plan may be undermined.

We welcome the commitment to create a new children and young people’s transformation programme and would urge that this be led by senior representatives from across government, the voluntary and community sector and most importantly, children and young people themselves.”

Professor Dame Sue Bailey – Chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

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For press enquires for the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition please contact Kadra.abdinasir@cypmhc.org.uk