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NHS fast tracks mental health support for millions of pupils

More than 2.4 million children and young people now have access to mental health support in schools and colleges, thanks to the NHS fast tracking services to help address record demand. The NHS rollout is already one year ahead of schedule – more than 500 teams will be confirmed ahead of the April 2023 ambition with millions able to access help when they need it.

NHS mental health support teams are now in place in around 4,700 schools and colleges across the country, with 287 expert teams offering support to children experiencing anxiety, depression, and other common mental health issues.

A further 112 teams are in training and will start over the next year, with an additional 104 new teams starting their training in 2022/23, taking the total to more than 500 across the country.

Speaking during a visit to Richard Challoner School in Surrey to see how an NHS mental health team have supported children throughout the disruption of the last two years, the Head of Mental Health Care in England, Claire Murdoch said the services will provide a “lifeline for many young people who are struggling and need some help”.

A record 650,000 children and young people were in contact with mental NHS health services over the last year – up from 534,000 compared to before the pandemic.

Experts hope that by intervening early they can prevent problems escalating into serious mental health issues, with health chiefs warning that the isolation and upheaval of the pandemic can be compounded by factors like pressure experienced on social media platforms.

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