‘The Official Response to the British Youth Council’s Youth Select Committee Report - ‘Young People’s Mental Health’’, published jointly by the Departments for Education and Health, goes on to state that mental health has been “undervalued, underfunded and under prioritised for far too long.”
In their response, Alistair Burt MP, Minister for Community and Social Care and Sam Gyimah MP, Minister for Childcare and Education praised the Youth Select Committee's “well-informed and thoughtful report” and highlighted their professionalism, passion and ability to ask the right questions.
Burt added: "When I first met with the Youth Select Committee I was struck by their passion and commitment; it gave me great hope for the young people they represent all across the country. As we start the biggest transformation of youth mental health services in the history of the NHS through our £1.25 billion investment, it is vital that we continue to involve young people every step of the way."
The government has taken on board a number of the committee’s recommendations, and has committed to “work with young people throughout” as it implements a number of measures. The response continues to state that: “It is crucial that we work with young people throughout these changes – as only young people truly understand what they need from their services.”
Both departments have acknowledged in particular the role of schools and the curriculum to prepare young people by providing a mental, as well as a physical, health education.
The response follows the Youth Select Committee’s inquiry, launched in April 2015, which considered written and oral evidence and concluded that mental health services for young people are critically underfunded, with much work required to break down the stigma associated with mental health problems. The Committee’s report, published in November 2015, offered recommendations across three key areas: funding and the state of services, a role for education and awareness, stigma and digital culture.
Throughout the inquiry evidence was gathered from a range of witnesses, including charities, young people, academics, Ministers and health and education professionals.
The inquiry was triggered after the issue topped the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark ballot in 2014 of 877,488 young people in the UK. It remains a priority campaign for 2016.
Following the publication of the report, the Department of Health has commissioned a review of the ‘You’re Welcome’ toolkit, which assesses the level and quality of youth-friendly services.
Rhys Hart, chair of the Youth Select Committee, said: “The Youth Select Committee’s comprehensive investigation discovered some important and serious issues around the current state of young people’s mental health services, we’re glad to see the government accept our findings and are not only acting on some of our recommendations but have also made it clear mental health is a priority at both the Department for Education and Department of Health. Young people need to be at the forefront of the changes being made so I’m delighted to see the Government have committed to working with young people throughout.”
Read the government's full response to ‘Young People’s Mental Health’