Thank you for contacting me about mental health services for young people.
It is incredibly important to protect and support the health of children and young people in our society. In recent years we have made huge progress in understanding mental health issues, and I support efforts to transform children and young people’s mental health for the better.
Approximately 10 per cent of 5 to 16 year olds have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. Between 2015 and 2020, an additional £1.4 billion is being invested to transform children and young people’s mental health.
The NHS Long Term Plan makes a commitment to offering children and young people the best start in life. As part of this, there is an additional commitment to deliver on the promises made in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health so that 70,000 more children and young people will access treatment each year by 2020/21. Moreover, by 2023/2024 at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS funded mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams.
In addition, the NHS is on track to deliver new waiting time standards for eating disorder services by 2020/21. Four fifths of children and young people with an eating disorder now receive treatment within one week in urgent cases and four weeks in non-urgent cases. Extra investment will enable maintained delivery of the 95 per cent standard beyond 2020/21.
I agree with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that while it is hugely welcome that we are on the road to parity of esteem for mental health services, there is still more to do. I am extremely encouraged by the news that, as part of the five-year funding offer that will see the annual NHS budget grow by over £33.9 billion, mental health services will receive budget growth of £2.3 billion over the five-year funding settlement, the fastest uplift in funding. This will enable further service expansion and faster access to community and crisis mental health services for both adults and particularly children and young people.
I am pleased that a new mental health crisis service with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E, alongside new children and young peoples’ crisis teams across the country. The additional funding will also deliver more mental health ambulances, “safe havens” in the community; and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline when people are in urgent need of help.
Locally I continue to work with Devon Partnership Trust to improve local mental health services, and have been encouraged by recent projects including work on a 24 hour phoneline for mental health assistance and building on the network of ‘Crisis Cafés’ that have recently been established to provide out of hours and night-time mental health support to adults at three locations in Devon, known as The Moorings. Our nearest Moorings are in Exeter and Torquay, and Teignbridge residents are welcome to telephone or call in at both.