A national advisory council has been established to ensure improvements are made to child and adolescent mental health services, children’s secretary Ed Balls and health secretary Alan Johnson said today.
Balls and Johnson made the pledge alongside a package of measures to improve Camhs, in response to the final report of the government-commissioned national Camhs review, also published today.
The establishment of the National Advisory Council on Children’s Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing was one of the report’s key recommendations.
Hold government to account
The council will have a remit to ensure that the recommendations in the review are addressed and the government is held to account on progress. It will be chaired by Jo Williams, former chief executive of Mencap, and will report to ministers after one year.
The Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families announced a national programme to help local services deliver on the aims of the review. They also announced the £20m roll-out of extra mental health support for children in schools from 2009-11, aided by an extra £500,000 for a number of authorities to provide support for special schools and pupil referral units.
A further £500,000 will be allotted to improve helpline support for parents and carers who are concerned about their child’s mental health.
Ed Balls said: “The Camhs review gives us a real opportunity to address some of the issues that children, young people and their families have told us really impact on their lives – better access to the support they need and want. Families need access to understandable information about what is available to them locally, and a service that is responsive to their needs.”
The key recommendations of the report were:
- For all children, young people and their families to have access to high quality, timely and responsive mental health and psychological wellbeing services that span the full spectrum of their needs.
- Effective transitional arrangements for young adults who are approaching 18 and who are supported by Camhs.
- For all local areas to set out a clear description of the services that are available locally for children, young people and their families.
Gloucestershire Council director of children’s services Jo Davidson, who chaired the year-long review, said: “If the review’s recommendations are fully addressed everyone will recognise and have a good understanding of what they can do to promote resilience in children and young people and where they can go to get help, and children’s services will work effectively together to provide well integrated child and family centred services to address mental health and psychological well-being needs.”