Nick Clegg has announced £1.25 billion of new funding for children’s mental health services.
The money, spread over five years, will help treat 110,000 more children with mental health issues, and also provides rapid access to treatment for pregnant women and new mothers.
As part of the package, Nick also announced that the first ever-waiting time standards for children’s mental health will be introduced, and specialists in children’s talking therapy will be available in every part of the country by 2018. The funding will also extend access to services for children under five and those with autism and learning disabilities.
Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition and research shows that left untreated it can blight their adult lives. But until now, provision of appropriate care has been insufficient to meet their needs.
Children and young people with conditions like depression or anxiety, self harm or at risk of suicide will now get access to more therapy, parenting support and care closer to home or in their community (such as local cafes, youth centres and shopping centres).
The Liberal Democrats have made improving mental health a priority, both in Government, but also in our Manifesto for the next parliament. This announcement is just the latest in a series of improvements to mental health services that we have delivered over the last five years, including:
- £7 million in new beds for children and young people, as well as more case managers to make sure they are cared for in a suitable environment
- £150 million over the next five years to help young people deal with issues like self-harm and eating disorder
- Introduction of a new waiting time standard, backed by £33 million, to make sure young people with psychosis get prompt treatments
- £54 million investment into improving access to Psychological Therapies for children and young people
Commenting on the announcement, Nick said:
“There would be an outcry if a child with diabetes was left to cope without support or treatment. But that’s exactly what’s been happening with young people’s mental health services
“I have heard, time and again, harrowing stories from young people and their families about how they suffered and their condition deteriorated waiting to get the right treatment for serious mental health problems.
“That’s why I am determined to start a seismic shift to revolutionise children’s mental healthcare and end this unacceptable injustice.
“By introducing waiting time standards and committing to talking therapies for children in every region, we are helping to build a fairer society where young people can get the right treatment and support they deserve to live a better life.”