Dan Parton (06/03/2012) is excited to see unexpected investment in children and young people's when it's the most
News that the government is to invest £22 million inimproving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) for children andyoung people is very welcome.
Coming at a time when many other mental health services areexperiencing budget cuts, this is, perhaps, an unexpected move - itis additional to previous money put towards the scheme - but showsthe Government's continuing interest in, and support for, IAPT.
The Department of Health says the money will be spent over thenext three years to expand state-of-the-art psychological therapiesand extend training for people working with youngsters outside ofhealth settings, such as in schools or youth groups.
This should help to reach out to children and young people whomay not ordinarily register on health or mental health services'radar. It also increases the chances of a young person gettingtreatment earlier, before they hit crisis - which can make animmeasurable difference to the outcome.
Indeed, since one in 10 children aged 5-16 experiences a mentalhealth problem and half of adults with mental health problemsdevelop symptoms by the age of 14, early intervention can becrucial in helping people to tackle their difficulties and, in time- hopefully - recover.
Of course, earlier intervention could also reduce the burden onadult mental health services by tackling depression, anxiety andself-harming, sooner rather than later.
However, as Barbara McIntosh, head of children and youngpeople's programmes at the Mental Health Foundation said, it isimportant to note that this investment will not signal 'job done'for children and young people's mental health.
For instance, the right services need to be commissioned - incollaboration with young people themselves - to ensure that theyreach the right individuals, at the right time.
And, while the money will certainly make a difference, furtherinvestment is still needed - at a national and local level - toensure that all children and young people with a mental healthproblem receive the help they need when they need it.