Education & Family

Children's mental-health funding boost from government

Anonymous woman
Image caption The government says it is time for a "step change" in support for children's mental health

Groups offering mental-health support to children and young people are to receive a multi-million-pound funding boost from April, the government says.

The organisations will gain some £4.8m in top-up grants in 2015-16.

This is the first time they have been eligible for a share of the government's £25m voluntary and community sector grants.

Young Minds chief executive Sarah Brennan said the windfall would help it provide "a vital lifeline" to families.

The charity had been awarded £300,000 to support its helpline for parents "struggling to support their children's mental health", Ms Brennan said.

Young Minds says demand for the helpline, which depends on donations, is the highest it has ever been.

'Step-change'

The grants are designed to support the work of organisations that make a difference to children and their families.

Mental-health projects were included for the first time, with ministers favouring projects designed to improve:

  • identification and prevention of mental health issues in children
  • commissioning of support
  • collaboration between agencies and services

Successful bids include:

  • £400,000 for the charity Mind to provide information and support to schoolchildren worried about their mental health
  • £564,000 to the Royal College of Paediatrics to help parents understand children's mental health issues
  • £440,000 for intervention in schools to tackle problems before they escalate.

The government says the move is part of a new action plan on mental health in schools.

With one in 10 children having a diagnosable mental-health disorder, about three in every classroom, the government says it is time for a "step change" in support.

It also wants more emphasis on helping all children to develop a better understanding of mental-health problems to help tackle the stigma.

Measures include:

  • advice to head teachers on how to deliver counselling services to pupils
  • guidance on age-appropriate teaching on mental-health problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm

'More pressure'

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "As a mum myself, I know growing up today is no easy task.

"Young people are under more pressure than ever before, in ways that are unimaginable to my generation.

"This is driven home to me every week when I visit schools across the country and talk to pupils about the issues affecting them, mental health comes up time and time again.

"There must be no trade-off between learning about mental health and academic success.

"By improving teaching on this subject, we will help young people make sense of mental-health issues and teach them how to keep themselves and others healthy."

Overall some 94 organisations will receive grants for projects, including:

  • adoption (£1.7m)
  • children in care (£1.4m)
  • early education and childcare (£5.3m)
  • family advice and support (£1.8m)
  • safeguarding (£3.3m)
  • special educational needs and disabilities (£5.9m)

The grants would supplement existing government funding, the Department for Education said.

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