The Government has announced almost £5m to fund early support hubs nationwide to deliver mental health support for children and young people.
Thousands of children and young people will receive earlier mental health treatment in a move to help save lives and ensure fewer youngsters reach crisis point, through the creation of early support hubs across the country.
The Government is making nearly £5m available to provide earlier, open-access mental health intervention at 10 hubs in community locations.
The drop-in centres offer mental health support and advice to young people who will not need a referral by a doctor or school.
They will not even need an appointment, with services provided including group work, counselling, psychological therapies, specialist advice, and signposting to information and other services.
Around 50% of mental health conditions are established by the time a child reaches the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24.
And access to early support can prevent infants, children, and young adults from developing enduring conditions that can have devastating long-term impacts on their lives and life chances, as well as the lives of their loved ones.
We have to make sure the support is there as early as possible and that is why I will keep working with the Government to ensure every child and young adult knows they have somewhere to go when they feel lost, overwhelmed, or down
Mental Health Minister, Maria Caulfield, said: “Our funding will help hubs to hire counsellors, youth workers, and other local experts and it comes on top of an extra £2.3billion a year to transform NHS mental health services and help millions of people.
“This funding can help to avoid tragic waits and save lives.”
A network of roughly 60 early support hubs currently exists across the country, run by a range of local services including volunteer organisations, local NHS trusts, and local authorities.
The £4.92m will enable 10 existing hubs to expand their current services locally and employ new staff like counsellors or youth workers.
The 10 hubs benefiting from the funding will be announced in due course.
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.
“No child or young person experiencing trauma should reach crisis point, and nobody should endure the enormous tragedy of losing a loved one to mental illness.
“We have to make sure the support is there as early as possible and that is why I will keep working with the Government to ensure every child and young adult knows they have somewhere to go when they feel lost, overwhelmed, or down.”
Early support hubs also offer advice on wider issues which may affect a young person’s mental health, including sexual health, exam worries, jobs, drugs, alcohol, and financial concerns.
And, alongside the pilots, an evaluation of how the funding has benefited local children and young people will be conducted by the Government.