The number of mental health disorders affecting children and young people has risen starkly in recent years. According to NHS England figures published in 2018, one in eight children aged between 5-19 has a diagnosable mental health condition, yet at the same time Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is the most critically overstretched area of the mental health system with four out of five service providers unable to meet local demand.
With over half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders beginning in childhood, the Government is determined to address the growing crisis in mental health provision for children and young people. Building on the Five-Year Forward View for Mental Health published in 2016 and the 2017 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper, the Government has pledged to provide access to NHS-funded mental health services for an additional 345,000 children and young people by 2023/24. At the heart of the new mental health framework is a drive to improve waiting times, enhance integration between schools, colleges and mental health services, provide better support for families and raise awareness of mental health issues.
In July 2019, the Education Secretary outlined the next steps in bringing together services for young people in need of mental health support, with the national roll out of a £9.3m training scheme to strengthen joined up care and support across schools, colleges and specialist NHS services. It is hoped that the provision of better mental health training in schools along with the introduction of compulsory health education lessons from 2020 will reinforce early intervention strategies to identify mental health issues before they become more acute.
This timely symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for schools, colleges, NHS and mental health practitioners to understand the changing national CAMHS policy framework and examine how the latest initiatives can bolster local partnership working and help to embed a more holistic approach to children and young people’s mental health provision. The symposium will explore how to promote better mental health and wellbeing for young people, enhance commissioning frameworks and boost support and access to services to ensure that every young person receives the care and support they need to fulfil their potential for a healthy and happy life.
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