The government have proposed directly confronting "the thin ideal" through working with the NHS to facilitate group discussions for schoolchildren around anorexia. 

The government have also thrown their backing behind cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in proposed policy published today.

Feedback is sought on the green paper on mental health interventions for children and young people before the policy is reviewed and finalised.

Today's green paper proposes introducing CBT in a school/college setting for adolescents at risk of depression and/or showing signs of depression.

NHS to work more closely with teachers

Regional teams involving NHS mental health professionals and designated mental health leads from schools and other education providers would work together under the plans.

Depending on feedback next year, the Government would look to roll out their new plans to all areas of England and Wales by 2025. 

"We are promoting this approach because the Department for Education and NHS
England have, through the Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilot, tested a joint training approach that showed the benefits of building strong relationships between schools and NHS mental health services," authors of the green paper reflected.  

Body image

Attention is likely to focus on the anorexia proposals.

The government say group therapy "can be effective in reducing eating disorder symptoms and body image concerns, when targeted toward high-risk adolescent girls."

Last week NHS digital statistics revealed that one in ten girls aged 14-15 were last year referred to specialist mental health services for various needs.

The government today pledged to work more closely with social media organisations in recognition of a perceived link with mental health concerns around body image and bullying.

"We will convene a working group of social media and digital sector companies to explore what more they can do to help us keep children safe online [and] the Chief Medical Officer will produce a report on the impact that technology has on young people’s mental health."