Mental health

NHS promises to keep funding mental health support teams

The teams help pupils with mild to moderate mental health problems

The teams help pupils with mild to moderate mental health problems

The NHS plans to raid its own budgets to keep funding mental health support teams in schools after government funding runs out, a senior health official has said.

The teams help pupils with mild to moderate mental health problems, hitting a target for 35 per cent coverage across the country and reaching 26 per cent of pupils.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said this week that NHS budgets, which include funding for the teams, have been set up to March 2024. About 500 teams are expected to be operational by then.

But it said that budgets for the 2024-25 financial year were still to be agreed.

Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, said earlier this month the Department for Education “will certainly be putting the case forward for continuing the roll-out of this successful programme”.

However, with no decision made, Claire Murdoch, the national lead for mental health at NHS England, said it had “found some money” within the NHS envelope “for a further year”.

But speaking to MPs at the public accounts committee last week, she warned that because it relied on trained therapists …”we do need to be really clear what is happening the year after next and the year after that”.

The £215 million mental health support teams were a key pillar of the 2018 green paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England’s chief executive, said she would be “extremely surprised if there was not an enthusiasm to continue with this programme”.

MPs have previously urged the government to roll out the teams nationwide by 2027-28.

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