Welsh Government has responded to the Children, Young People and Education Committee’s Mind Over Matter report which aims to improve the emotional and mental health of children and young people in Wales.
Ahead of a plenary debate taking place in the Chamber today, and in reaction to Welsh Government’s response, Officer for Wales for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), Dr David Tuthill said:
“Mental health services in Wales are at crisis point and require urgent support so the Welsh Government’s response to the Mind Over Matter report is encouraging, particularly its commitment to making children’s mental health a national priority – a focus it so desperately needs.
Welsh Government accepts that emotional and mental health must be fully embedded in the new curriculum to support children and young people to become healthy confident individuals. Commitments to improve school inspections are also welcome and so too is the acceptance of access to mental health training for key professionals who work with children. This should allow them to spot the early warning signs that a child might need help and then act quickly.
Despite some excellent commitments, others do not go far enough. Welsh Government agree that mental health support should be available in all schools and plan to offer support such as extended services with childcare, parenting support, family learning and community access to facilities built around the school day. However schools provide the perfect opportunity to help identify and prevent poor mental health so what’s also needed is better access to school nurses, with sufficient appointment times, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) referral services. There is no disguising the fact that schools are resource limited at the present time so we’d also like overall clarity on how Welsh Government’s proposals will be delivered in light of this.”