NHS England and the Department of Education have invested £3million into a mental health pilot scheme for hundreds of schools.
The Mental Health Services and Schools Link pilots will place a named single point of contact in 255 schools and in 22 pilot services in England. The aim is to create more joined up working between schools and health services.
The named lead will be responsible for developing closer relationships with a counterpart in local NHS CAMHS services to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health issues and to ensure any referrals are timely and appropriate. They will be supported in the work through a series of training days. The work will then be evaluated nationally to understand the impact of joint working.
Dr Jackie Cornish, national clinical director for children and young people at NHS England, said: ‘This is an opportunity for CCGs, and schools to work together more closely, trial a new way of thinking and a new model. Our aim is to significantly improve the care and experience we can offer to children and young people with mental health problems.’
The CCGs receiving the funding are: East and North Hertfordshire, South Cheshire, Bedfordshire, Salford, East Riding of Yorkshire, Tameside and Glossop, Walsall, Halton, Birmingham, Camden, West Hampshire, Brighton and Hove, Sunderland, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Hammersmith and Fulham, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Chiltern, Wigan, Haringey, Sheffield.
Each CCG will work with at least 10 schools in their area.
The funding includes £1.7m from NHS England and £1.5m from the Department of Education.
‘We know that if we can help young people effectively at the earliest possible age we can gain the best possible outcome for them in the long run and that is why we are focusing our attention to improve joint working in schools,’ adds Dr Cornish.
Minister responsible for mental health Alistair Burt, said: ‘Children and young people’s mental health, is one of my personal priorities and these pilots are part of the biggest transformation to young people’s mental health that the sector has seen.’
There will be an investment of £1.4billion in children and young people’s mental health services over the next five years.