According to national survey data on trends in child mental health, “one in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed”. The manifesto acknowledges “massively increased pressures on young people’s mental health” and sets out various policies to address those (see “Related policies” below). This policy promises that all schools will have a designated point of contact to act as a bridge between students and professional mental health support.
In its December 2017 green paper on children and young people’s mental health provision, the government advocated the creation of the role of “Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health” in every school, and proposed funding for training, with the aim of extending training to all schools by 2025. However, by the time of its response to the consultation, in July 2018, the government was “considering…whether there are sufficient high quality courses”, and the aim was “to offer training to one-fifth of schools from September 2019”.
By December 2018, in an announcement about the launch of new mental health support teams, the designated lead role was only mentioned as an ancillary development.
When the NHS Long Term Plan was published in January 2019, it discussed mental health support teams working in schools and colleges, but there was no mention of a single point of contact at schools.
Despite an apparent drift away from the firm promise in the manifesto, given the green paper consultation and the reference to training senior mental health leads in schools as recently as December 2018, we’re rating this as ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’, we will need to see a single designated mental health lead at every school in the country. We’ll keep tracking, so follow this policy to stay up to date.
Ensure you’re informed – get the details
- Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 [PAS] – NHS Digital
- Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper – Gov.uk
- Government Response to the Consultation on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: a Green Paper and Next Steps – Gov.uk
- NHS and schools in England will provide expert mental health support – Gov.uk
- NHS Long Term Plan – NHS
- Ensure better access to mental health care for children and young people
- Publish a green paper on young people’s mental health
- Introduce mental health first aid training for teachers
- Teach children about mental wellbeing
- Teach children about the mental health risks of the internet
- Ensure that children with serious mental health conditions are seen within an appropriate timeframe
- Provide local mental health treatment for children