Cash for mental health support ‘will benefit thousands of youngsters’

Thousands of youngsters who may not meet the threshold for NHS mental health care are to be offered more support, officials have said.

Early support hubs for children and young adults are to be expanded to hire counsellors, youth workers and other experts to help support children with mental health problems.

There are around 60 hubs around the country which offer mental health support and advice to 11 to 25-year-olds.

People do not need to be referred to the hubs and can use them on a drop-in basis.

Services on offer include counselling, psychological therapies, group work, specialist advice and signposting to information and other services.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that thousands more young people are to benefit from the support thanks to a £4.92 million investment from the Government.

Mental health minister Maria Caulfield said: “To parents across the nation – I want to assure you we’re working to get your children that vital early support.

“Our funding will help hubs to hire counsellors, youth workers and other local experts. It comes on top of an extra £2.3 billion a year to transform NHS mental health services and help millions of people.”

The DHSC said youngsters going through the trauma of worry, anxiety or stress will have a physical space to go to when their problems first emerge.

It said existing hubs are run by a range of local services including volunteer organisations, NHS trusts, and local authorities.

The department said the additional cash, which is on top of the £2.3 billion previously announced, will enable 10 existing hubs to expand their current services locally and employ new staff such as counsellors or youth workers.

The Government’s youth mental health ambassador Dr Alex George said: “Early intervention in mental health is paramount, and today’s announcement of additional funding for early support hubs across the country is a milestone to be celebrated.”

Olly Parker, head of external affairs at the charity YoungMinds, welcomed the investment, adding: “This recognises the vital role these community services play in bringing mental health support and advice to young people.

“Early intervention services are desperately needed across the country.

“There is clear evidence that early support hubs work and will make a huge difference to young people who are struggling with their mental health.

“We see this as a step in the right direction but we want to see a commitment for a full national rollout. Young people can wait no longer, it’s time for the Government to end the wait.”