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NAHT welcome government mental health proposals but caution that improvements are needed urgently to fix a system in crisis

School leaders’ union NAHT have responded to government proposals in the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper, as part of a consultation closing today [Monday 5 March].

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, commented:

“School leaders will cautiously welcome the government’s proposals on children and young people’s mental health – they know just how urgent it is that access to specialist health services is improved. Many of our members report a system in crisis, where unsupported pupils are at best struggling to learn and at worst are at serious risk.

“A recent NAHT survey showed that 99.7 per cent of school leaders agreed that access to therapeutic support for children and young people with mental health needs must be improved. Increased demand for mental health services combined with plummeting funding has meant that many pupils are not receiving crucial support. A report carried out across England by the Care Quality Commission last year revealed that only a quarter of children and teenagers who need treatment for mental health problems are able to access it, with many having to wait as long as 18 months before they receive any help.

“The scale and pace proposed by the green paper for vital improvements to mental health provision is simply too slow. With only 20-25 per cent of the country involved over the next five years, too many children and young people will continue to struggle without help, their health and education suffering based on a postcode lottery.

“NAHT would urge the government to increase the capacity of existing mental health services for children and young people across the country immediately.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

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