Child mental health taskforce publishes report findings

The Government has announced a new five-year plan to completely overhaul mental health services for children and young people following the findings of a dedicated taskforce to review current provision and need.

Speaking at a launch event in London Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb outlined the key recommendations from the Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce which published its long-awaited report today.

The taskforce's review of services found too many young people are not getting the help they need and growing numbers are also presenting with complex and severe problems.

Its report, Future in mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, sets out a host of measures intended by the Government to dramatically transform service provision for children and young people suffering from mental health problems.

In terms of education the report recommends that schools play a greater part in mental health promotion and the provision of mental health services for children and young people.

Key points include: providing a named CAMHS contact in all schools; involving schools in the local plans devised by Health and Wellbeing Boards; providing alternative treatment venues in particular for children from vulnerable and hard to reach backgrounds.

In relation to commissioning, the report recommends increasing co-commissioning for community and in-patient care with a view to moving away from the tiered model; a local lead accountable commissioning body with a single separate identifiable budget for children and young people's mental health; designing and implementing a local plan for children and young people's mental health in each commissioning area with inputs from all agencies, children and young people and their parents; increased commissioning of home treatments and other flexible services.

In the area of early years and mental health promotion, the report says every birthing unit should have a specialist perinatal mental health clinician by 2017; there should be increased investment in early years health services and parents should have access to evidence based interventions and support to strengthen attachment and avoid trauma; local authorities should invest in funding for early support initiatives and invest strategically in mental health services from 0-5 from October 2015; health visitors should also receive updated training in mental health.

In a foreword for the report of the taskforce, which was set up in August last year, Minister Norman Lamb says: "This is the Government report of the work of the taskforce and it sets out what we need to do to overcome the status quo. We need a whole child and family approach, where we are promoting good mental health from the earliest ages. We need to improve access to interventions and support when and were it is needed, whether that's in schools, GP practices, hospitals or in crisis care.

"We mustn't think about mental health in a purely clinical fashion. We need to make better use of the voluntary and digital services to fill in the gaps in a fragmented system. Crucially, we must make it much easier for a child or young person to seek help and support in non-stigmatised settings."

Today's announcement comes after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said at the weekend there would be an extra £1.25 billion for mental health in this week's Budget.

Read the Future in Mind report in full here