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Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing
Supporting children's mental health and wellbeing

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7.1 Government policy

In addition to curriculum policy, since 2010, successive UK governments have pledged to improve support for children’s mental health. Here are some of the main policies.

The following is a summary of key policies in England taken from a House of Commons Briefing Paper, Children and young people’s mental health – policy, services, funding and education [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Parkin, Long and Gheera, 2020).

  • The Future in Mind taskforce report (Department of Health and Social Care, 2015) set out ambitions to improve mental health.
  • The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (NHS Mental Health Taskforce, 2016) includes specific objectives to improve treatment for children and young people by 2020/21.
  • The Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper (Department of Health and Department for Education, 2017), which was published jointly by the Department of Health and the Department for Education. Two of the main aims will require schools to designate a senior lead to oversee the approach to mental health and wellbeing, and to fund mental health support teams that are supervised by NHS staff that will be linked to schools.
  • The NHS Long Term Plan (NHS, 2019) restated the Government’s commitment to deliver the recommendations in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and set out further measures to improve the provision of, and access to, mental health services for children and young people.
  • The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education (Department for Education, 2019) guidance is part of the National Curriculum in England and has been discussed in Section 2 of this session.

Government policies at national level are aimed at providing guidance about the services that are required to respond to the mental health needs of young children. However, policies at local level in education settings can also make a positive contribution to improving children’s mental health.