Children and young people’s mental health

What does the Long Term Plan say about children and young people’s mental health?

The Long Term Plan explains what the NHS will do over the next 10 years to expand mental health services for children and young people, reduce unnecessary delays and deliver care in ways that young people, their families and carers have told us work better for them.

Its commitments are based on the views of patients, staff, experts and stakeholders, including the young people who joined NHS England and YoungMinds at an event in 2018 to get their views on what the future of mental health services should look like.

In this series of short films, YoungMinds youth advisor Jacob asks Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health, about some of the issues raised in the plan, when changes might be made, and how young people will be involved in the future development of care.

Films produced with support from YoungMinds;
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust; The Hive and Jacob.

Find out more

The Long Term Plan explains how an expansion in children and young people’s mental health care will be backed by more money, invested more quickly, than that being spent on both NHS funding and mental health overall.

It builds on a five-year programme to develop children and young people’s mental health services which aims to ensure 70,000 more children and young people can access treatment each year by 2020/21.

In the next 10 years, the NHS will continue to widen access to community-based mental health services, including through new support in schools and colleges.

By 2023/24, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS-funded mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams.

As well as developing the new Mental Health Support Teams, some areas are also testing a four-week waiting time to give children and young people who need more expert support quicker access to specialist mental health services.

Investment will continue into eating disorder services to deliver the waiting time standard. Four out of five children and young people with an eating disorder now receive treatment within one week in urgent cases and four weeks for non-urgent cases. The extra investment will allow the NHS to maintain delivery of the 95% standard beyond 2020/21.

There will also be improved support for young people during a mental health crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These will include specialist care at A&E, alternatives to hospital admissions, such as crisis and liaison teams and crisis cafes and safe havens, a single point of access to support through NHS 111 and intensive home treatment.

The NHS will also develop new approaches to supporting young adults aged 18-25 which bring together partners in health, social care, education and the voluntary sector. These will help young people who face a great deal of change in their lives at this time, which can affect their emotional wellbeing.

Use the links below to read more about what the NHS Long Term Plan says about children and young people’s mental health care:

Examples of how care is changing for children and young people can be found in our case studies and blogs.