School mental health support backed with £79m

Package of support to benefit 3 million more pupils through mental health support teams in schools

Catherine Lough

Government has announced £79m in mental health funding to benefit school pupils

The government has announced today that it will allocate £79 million to support student mental health in schools.

The money will be used to support 3 million pupils through mental health support teams in schools.

And around 22,500 more children and young people will be able to access community mental health services, the government says, while 2,000 more young people will access eating disorder services.


Related: How we can help pupils in this mental health crisis

Mental health: Catch-up rhetoric putting ‘huge pressure’ on children

Background: How Covid has created an epidemic of eating disorders


The Department of Health and Social Care said: "Young people have been uniquely impacted by the pandemic and lockdown, with NHS research suggesting one in six may now have a mental health problem, up from one in nine in 2017."

Extra mental health support for schools

The DHSC said the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges would increase from 59 to 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children and young people.

Mental health support teams in schools can help students text their local mental health support team, with a health professional responding within an hour during the school day offering them advice.

They can also provide families with tips on identifying when their children are struggling with their mental health.

"Access to community mental health services will also be expanded, giving 22,500 more children and young people access to help and support by 2021 to 2022 – including talking therapies and cognitive behavioural therapy," the DHSC said.

Speaking at today's coronavirus briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock said that "growing up is tough even at the best of times" and acknowledged the toll the pandemic had taken on young people's wellbeing.

"I know just how much people are looking forward to going back to school, to seeing friends in a classroom properly rather than just on Zoom," he said.

"Monday will be a long-awaited day for many people. But for some it’s also a moment of unease and anxiety.

"We need to make sure we get the help for young people to help them get through this and get life going again and give them the support that they need."

Students facing a mental health crisis will continue to get support through 24/7 crisis lines, as well as benefiting from additional funding to support follow-up crisis treatment at home where necessary.

The funding will also mean that eating disorder services for conditions like anorexia and bulimia will be accessible to an additional 2,000 children and young people in the community.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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