RCPCH reacts to Government's mental health green paper response

RCPCH's Officer for Health Promotion, Dr Max Davie, reacts to the Government's response to Children and Young Person's Mental Health Green Paper, saying they have "missed an opportunity with their response".

The Government has today published its response to the Children and Young Person's Mental Health Green Paper, pledging to recruit hundreds of mental health workers who will work in and near schools and colleges to address the demand in services.

Reacting to this response, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

"We know there is high demand for mental health support in educational settings; therefore, additional investment in support staff in this sector is a move that’s welcome. However, children and young people’s mental health cannot be supported by one service alone. It takes a number of teams working collaboratively and inclusively to provide patients with the best possible outcomes. What’s needed is more resource to support the integration of child health, primary care and other agencies within a local child and adolescent mental health system. We need all professionals who work with children and young people to be trained in mental health so they can identify problems at the earliest opportunity and in order to match local services to local need in an accountable manner, the CQC [Care Quality Commission] recommendation on ‘local offers’ should be adopted.

"Mental health is one of the biggest epidemics of our time and while the Government has rather disappointingly missed an opportunity with their response to this green paper, it can be addressed with the upcoming long term 10-year plan. We ask Government to support the existing struggling system around children's mental health, integrating care so schemes like the ‘Trailblazers’ can have maximum impact. Failure to do so will result in the most vulnerable children being let down and risk wider mental health services collapsing through exhaustion."

Following a consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Education have confirmed they will be taking forward:

  • a brand new NHS mental health workforce dedicated to supporting children in schools and colleges
  • designated senior leads for mental health in schools and colleges
  • ‘Trailblazer’ rolled-out to at least 20-25% of the population by the end of 2022-23 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.