“It’s a step in the right direction” schools welcome boost to mental health services

A young woman suffering from depression is consoled by her friend.

A young woman suffering from depression is consoled by her friend. - Credit: Archant

The chancellor's announcement that mental health services for young people are set to get a funding boost has been praised as 'a step in the right direction' by those working in the county's schools.

However Norman Lamb, MP for north Norfolk, has said the funding falls 'well short' of what is needed.

Philip Hammond has announced that mental health services are to receive a £2bn cash injection by 2023/24 in a bid to create a parity between physical and mental health treatment.

The extra cash will mean the establishment of specialist teams in schools supporting pupils and crisis teams linking schools, colleges and social services to other mental health services. The money will also mean more mental health ambulances, improved community support services and 24/7 mental health support in every major NHS A&E department, ensuring anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can get rapid specialist help.

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive officer and principal of East Coast College, said the funding boost for services in schools was an acknowledgement of the problem. He said: 'I think it's very positive to see the interest and it's going some way in supporting the general population but as with any spending the proof of the pudding is going to be in frontline services.'

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Nick O'Brien, special educational needs coordinator at Dereham Neatherd High School, was cautiously optimistic. He said: 'It certainly sounds like a step in the right direction and eventually there should be complete parity between physical and mental health. I think it will be a welcome but I don't think this will solve all the problems.'

However the announcement was greeted with criticism by Norman Lamb MP, who said: 'While extra funding for mental health is sorely needed, the chancellor is investing the bare minimum.

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'For all the government's spin, this £2bn falls well short of the amount experts say is needed to deliver vital improvements to services and achieve real equality between mental and physical health.'

The additional £2bn funding forms part of the extra £20 billion-a-year by 2023 for the NHS in England which Theresa May announced in June.

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