Mental health plans do not go far enough or fast enough

09 May 2018

Commenting on the report of the House of Commons Education and Health and Social Care Committees – ‘The Government’s Green Paper on mental health: failing a generation’, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:

“This report confirms ASCL’s concerns that the government’s plans for improving mental health support for children and young people do not go far enough or fast enough. The government’s green paper fails to address the critical problem facing schools and colleges, which is the fact that real-terms funding cuts are forcing them to cut back on existing counselling and support services at exactly the time that mental health issues are rising. The proposal for a designated senior lead for mental health in every school doesn’t address this problem, and may actually add to workload. And there are many unanswered questions about how the mental health support teams envisaged in the green paper would work.

“The green paper also fails to adequately address the most important issue beyond the school gates, which is the lack of capacity in local NHS services for students with serious mental health problems. Its ponderous plan to roll-out pilot projects to reduce waiting times over the course of several years is simply not good enough. The crisis is happening now.”