The government will invest £143 million in the coming year aimed at improving children’s mental health services in England.
This funding is part of the £1.25 billion package of spending over the next 5 years, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in March’s Budget. However, the investment is less than the £250 million that had been expected to be spent this year. Nevertheless, a Department of Health spokesperson, speaking to the BBC, confirmed that the department was committed to spending the whole £1.25 billion over the course of the Parliament.
In addition, £30 million will be spent on improving help for people with eating disorders, the Department of Health has confirmed. This is expected to include a guarantee that by 2020, 95% of patients will be seen within 4 weeks of referral, with the most urgent cases being assessed within a week.
Sarah Brennan, chief executive of YoungMinds, welcomed the announcement. "These funds are crucial as thousands of children and young people are suffering and services are under increasing pressure,” she said. “Children and young people’s mental health is everybody’s business and all services must work together to ensure that all children and young people and their families get the vital help they need, as soon as they need it.
“The Eating Disorders Guidance and Transformation Plan Guidance being released on [August 3] is also welcomed. These are much needed so that funds are spent in ways which fulfil the recommendations of the Future in Mind report and ensure Health and Wellbeing Boards also prioritise children’s mental health. Transforming services will be a considerable challenge and YoungMinds calls on all local children’s services leaders to fully engage with this opportunity to ensure the mental health needs of their children are fully met in the future."