MPs to investigate mental health provision for young people

22nd December 2017 at 11:25
Funding, social media and mental health professionals in schools will be examined in joint inquiry by health and education committees

MPs have launched an inquiry into mental health provision for young people, after the government launched a Green Paper on the issue.

The investigation will be carried out jointly by the Education Select Committee and the Health Select Committee, and will start taking oral evidence next month.

The DfE and Department for Health are currently consulting on their proposals, which include mental health support teams providing treatment on school premises, and piloting a four-week waiting time for access to child and adolescent mental health services.

Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “There is a growing prevalence of mental ill-health among children and young people.

"Schools, colleges and universities have an important role to play in supporting young people with mental health concerns and promoting well-being. The government has a significant role to play, too.”

Impact of social media

In May, the two select committees found that funding pressures were forcing an increasing number of schools to cut back mental health provision, despite rising demand.

Mr Halfon said the new investigation would examine the resources allocated to schools, colleges and universities to deliver support on the front line, and what considerations there are around placing mental health professionals in schools.

Mr Halfon said the inquiry by MPs would also examine what the Green Paper offers “to ensure pupils and students are making better-informed choices about social media use”.

In November, children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield backed his call for the government to review the impact of social media on the mental health of young people.

Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health Committee, said: "Much has been promised for children and young people’s mental health services and we welcome the publication of the government’s Green Paper.

“In this joint inquiry with the Education Committee, we will examine the proposals outlined in the Green Paper and the extent to which they will address the mental health needs of children and young people and enable them to thrive throughout their education."

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