Mental Health Services: Children

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Labour, Leeds North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to reduce Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services waiting lists.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

We are committed to expanding and transforming National Health Service mental health care through the NHS Long Term Plan so more people, including children and young people, can be supported more quickly. The NHS forecasts that, between 2018/19 and 2023/24, spending on mental health services has increased by £4.7 billion in cash terms, compared to the target of £3.4 billion set out at the time of the NHS Long Term Plan. Nationally, overall spend on children and young people’s mental health services has increased from £841 million in 2019/20 to just over £1 billion in 2022/23. In the year to December 2023, over 750,000 children and young people aged under 18 years old were supported through NHS funded mental health services, a 31% increase since March 2021.

We are rolling out Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges in England, and as of May 2023, these teams cover 3.4 million pupils in England, or the equivalent to 35% of pupils. We expect this to increase to 44% by spring 2024, and we are extending coverage to 50% of pupils by the end of March 2025. We are also providing £8 million to fund 24 early support hubs across the country. This will improve access for children and young people to vital mental health support in the community, offering early interventions to improve wellbeing before their condition escalates further.

In addition, the NHS is working towards implementing five new waiting time standards for people requiring mental healthcare in both accident and emergency and in the community, to ensure timely access to the most appropriate, high-quality support. Four of these include children and young people.

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