Health Policy August 20, 2019
Funding boost delivered for community mental health projects

By News Feature - Accountable Care Journal

The Government has announced an extra £3.3 million boost to expand 23 local projects supporting children and young people's mental health, including; counselling, arts programmes, training for parents and peer support.

The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of government investment in the voluntary sector.

Intended to allow more children and young people under the age of 25 to access local services to support their mental health, the funding places an extra emphasis on inclusion for BAME and LGBT groups to ensure those who feel marginalised from care services are comfortable seeking support. Projects will be fully funded through the scheme in their first year and additional joint funding from local commissioners will be agreed for two years afterwards.

Jo Churchill, Minister for Public Health, emphasised the importance of children and young people getting help and support "in the heart of their communities, schools and homes," as it's "where they spend the majority of their time."

"One in eight young people has a diagnosable mental health problem, but only 25 per cent of children and young people who need treatment for a mental health problem in England are able to access it," said Geoff Heyes, Head of Health Policy and Influencing at Mind. The importance of ensuring that young people get the help they need at a young age cannot be understated as early intervention can vastly improve mental health outcomes later in life. "Local projects in communities are vital, especially where young people may struggle to access traditional services," said Mr Hayes.

Projects receiving funding include:

  • LifeLine Community Projects in Barking & Dagenham which will receive over £298,000 to expand their work with young people most at risk of poor mental health, with preventative support to stop problems escalating and reduce pressure on NHS services.
  • York Mind which will receive £50,000 to expand their Arts Award programme which connects young people to the arts, enabling them to increase their skills, confidence, sense of identity and reduce isolation, alongside 1-1 support.
  • The Proud Trust’s Peer Support Project in Manchester which will receive over £23,000 to support more LGBT young people through life-changing events including discovering their sexuality/gender and coming out.

Mental health services were given a £2.3 billion annual boost in the NHS Long Term Plan with key commitments to transform services. Kathy Roberts, CEO Association of Mental Health Providers, welcomed the focus on this area, reiterating the importance of the voluntary sector and its role in transforming mental healthcare.

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