Government plans to tackle mental health crisis in children labelled ‘unambitious’ by NEU

Government plans to tackle mental health crisis in children labelled ‘unambitious’ by NEU

- in NEU
children in school

National Education Union (NEU) has called the Government’s latest plans to tackle the growing mental health crisis in young people as ‘unambitious’, with MPs also warning the plans will take too long to implement.

Two committees of MPs has warned that the Government’s plans to tackle the mental health crisis among children and young children will fail a generation that desperately need help.

The committees say that the proposals to ‘transform’ NHS mental health care provision for young people via maximum four-week waiting times and improved support from schools will take too long to effect any real change.

In a joint report, the Commons education and health and social care select committees call the proposals ‘unambitious’ and ‘inadequate’ due to the increasing need for care and over-reliance on already overworked teachers. Rob Halfon, the Conservative chair of the education committee said:

This strategy does not go far enough, which raises the very real prospect of hundreds of thousands of children missing out on getting the help they so desperately need.

The Government’s plan involves introducing maximum waiting times of four weeks, but this is due to only be in effect across a quarter of England by 2022-23, which the report calls inadequate:

The suggested speed of delivery will leave hundreds of thousands of children with no improvements in provision for several years and with possibly worsened provision if staff leave to join trailblazer areas elsewhere.

The National Education Union (NEU) has echoed the criticisms of the select committee’s report, with joint general secretary of the NEU Dr Mary Bousted saying:

The crisis in child mental health provision will not be ‘transformed’ by the unambitious proposals in the government’s green paper. A government that’s complacent about child poverty and relaxed about excessive testing in schools can’t claim to care about young people’s mental health.


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