normanlambThe Department of Education has laid out plans to invest £4 million into extending a pilot scheme aimed at ensuring children, young people and families receive accessible, quality- assured, flexible and timely mental health support services in schools and other settings.

BOND (Better Outcomes, New Delivery) will operate in 6 areas of the country and the money will go towards new commissioning and tendering opportunities to enable volunteer and community projects to offer new, flexible, accessible support for children and young people.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb (pictured) said: "Improving mental health care for children and young people is a top priority for me.

"We know that most lifelong mental health problems can start to take hold by the age of 14 and early interventions can help someone to manage their condition or recover completely. This programme is an excellent example of how the voluntary sector can play an important role in joining up Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and schools."

Joined-up support for young people
With recent research showing that more than 800,000 young people across England have a diagnosable mental health condition, BOND will look to work with the voluntary and community sector, up to 10 local authority and health commissioners, and 15-20 schools in order to offer a wider range of support systems.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of mental health charity YoungMinds, said: “The BOND programme has had real, lasting impact in the 6 local areas we have worked in to date.

"BOND has opened up significant new investment opportunities for VCS provided emotional wellbeing services. Our learning from the pilots means we now have an established model that works effectively across the whole system to create joined-up improved support for children and young people when they need it most."