William Eichler 31 August 2022

Funding for mental health support under threat

Funding for mental health support under threat image
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.

Cash-strapped local authorities are being forced to divert early intervention mental health funding towards services under more immediate pressure, council chiefs warn.

The Local Government Association (LGA) issued the warning in response to a new survey that has found an increase in mental health issues among secondary school children.

Commissioned by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), the poll found that 82% of secondary school teachers have seen increasing levels of anxiety/depressive symptoms among pupils over the past year.

Carried out by Teacher Tapp, the survey also found that 70% of teachers have seen reduced motivation and engagement among pupils and 66% have seen a worsening of existing mental health problems.

Donna Molloy, director of policy at the EIF, commented: ‘We know that supporting young people’s mental health is a priority for secondary schools. Now more than ever, it is essential that teachers are adequately trained to support young people in the development of essential life skills, which includes the skills needed to maintain good mental health and wellbeing.

‘Young people’s mental health must remain a national priority, and teacher training and dedicated time in the curriculum for focusing on wellbeing are important ways of reducing young people’s mental health issues.’

Responding to the survey, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, deputy chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Councils have worked closely with schools and other partners to provide support to children and young people, but have had to increasingly divert early intervention spending towards more acute services due to overstretched budgets and increasing demand.’

Cllr Nethsingha urged the Government to ensure local mental health services were fully funded over the long term.

She said: ‘With the annual cost of mental health problems in England estimated to be £119bn, the Government should use their 10-year mental health strategy to ensure that local mental health services have sufficient funding to meet current, unmet and new demand for mental health support, including preventative mental wellbeing work that can stop the escalation of mental health needs so that more costly NHS treatment is avoided.’

The new Centre for Young Lives image

The new Centre for Young Lives

Anne Longfield CBE, the chair of the Commission on Young Lives, discusses the launch of the Centre for Young Lives this month.
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