ASCL comment on mental health green paper

04 December 2017

Commenting on the publication today of the green paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We welcome this green paper as an important step forward in tackling an issue which is of great concern to school and college leaders. We are pleased to see the recognition by the Health Secretary that schools and colleges are already doing a great deal to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people. This is despite severe funding pressures on their own resources, and difficulties in accessing underfunded NHS services for young people in need of specialist help.

“It is clear that additional support is required at a time when the incidence of mental health problems is rising and school and college budgets are continuing to shrink. We therefore welcome the creation of mental health support teams to help young people with emerging and more moderate needs.

“However, we remain extremely concerned about the difficulties which exist in accessing local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for young people who require specialist care. We note the intention to pilot a four-week waiting time, but question whether this is achievable within the allocation of £215m over the next three years alongside other measures in the green paper. We will be discussing this with the government, but we suspect that significantly more funding will be required to ensure that specialist services are resourced to match need.”