The Government has announced today that hundreds of new mental health workers will be working in schools and colleges from the start of 2019. These plans aim to reduce the waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) down to four weeks.

The Green Paper plans will be piloted in seven ‘trailblazer’ regions across the UK, with seven higher education institutions positioned to run Education Mental Health Practitioner courses.  Hundreds of educational staff will be trained in 2019, with a target of 8,000 by 2023.

Speaking on the goals of the Green Paper, Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary said:

“Growing up can be a difficult time, especially with the added pressures modern society brings. Children and young people must feel supported with their mental health needs and I am determined to keep people healthy, treat their problems quickly and provide services closer to home.”

The Government has recently announced a historic funding settlement for the NHS, and has asked the NHS to produce a new long-term plan in return, including new ten-year ambitions on mental health. The initiatives set out here will support this plan and are important first steps towards their longer-term ambitions.

‘Trailblazers’ to pilot and the Mental Health Support Teams will be made up of NHS and key local stakeholders, such as schools, local authorities and third sector organisations. These trailblazer areas across the country aim to test how teams can work with other services and how they can accelerate the wider transformation of mental health care for children and young people.

Caroline Hounsell, Youth Lead and Director of Partnerships, MHFA England, said:

“Schools are a crucial factor in children and young people’s mental health and so we welcome the Government’s commitment to further invest in this sector.”

“Strengthening the mental health training within schools will help teachers spot warning signs earlier and allow young people quicker access to vital support services, including the soon to be established Mental Health Support Teams. Teachers and school staff are on the front-line of student welfare so this commitment represents a positive step and will build on the government’s current commitment to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid training into every state secondary school by early 2020.”

The full announcement can be read here.