Liverpool named as ‘trailblazer’ for children’s mental health services

CHILDREN with mental health issues in Liverpool will get extra help after the city was named as a ‘trailblazer area’ under a new government scheme.

The city is one of 25 mental health trailblazer areas announced by health Secretary Matt Hancock today (Thursday 20 December).

Under the new scheme, the city council will work with Liverpool’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England and local schools to transform children’s mental health care.

The move comes as part of an extra £20.5 billion investment in the NHS by the government as will see the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams, which will be based in the city’s schools and colleges. Each team will work with a minimum of 20 schools and support up to 8,000 children and young people; teachers and education-based staff will also benefit from training and access to specialist expertise

Dr Fiona Lemmens, a Liverpool GP and Chair for NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: We’re delighted that Liverpool has been chosen to become a trailblazer for mental health support in schools. We know that there is an increasing demand for the provision of mental health services for children and young people across Liverpool, and the additional capacity and funding that this will bring to the city will help us to work closely with our partners in the local authority and education to ensure that children, young people, and their families, are able to access the mental health support they need at the earliest opportunity.”

The work of the new teams will build on existing support from school counsellors, nurses and educational psychologists and the voluntary sector. They will directly treat children with mild to moderate mental health issues and provide access to NHS services for those with more severe needs.

The Department for Education will also fund training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges. These leads will work closely with the Mental Health Support Teams to ensure children and young people get the right help as soon as possible.

The new trailblazer sites are expected to be rolled out across the country by 2023/24.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for children’s social care, Cllr Barry Kushner, said: Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for children’s social care, Cllr Barry Kushner, said: “It is obviously welcome to get any additional resources from Government, and particularly for children’s mental health. Two years ago, we lost around £740,000 per year for children’s mental health services, due to cuts to the CCG, so this funding replaces that. We will work with our health partners and community-based provision, to build up our early help offer. The increase in the numbers of children as young as seven with mental ill health is overwhelming schools, early help and specialist services. The Government needs to take this much more seriously than it has been doing. This is a step in the right direction, but we need large strides.”

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