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Depression (Schoolchildren)

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what health professionals are available in schools to deal with problems of depression among pupils. [114788]

The Government's strategy for the development of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), initiated in 1999, has made significant progress in improving the overall quality and accessibility of local services for children and young people with mental health problems. Our current investment programme, £250 million over the coming three years, aims to secure comprehensive services in all areas by 2006 and will increase the capacity of 'core' specialist CAMHS to underpin the work of other key agencies, including education.The Department for Education and Skills "Behaviour Improvement Programme" funds multi-agency teams, which offer targeted support to pupils who have mental health problems such as depression. The teams known as behaviour and education support teams (BESTs), have a complementary mix of education and health professionals, which may include clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, social workers and mental health workers. There are approximately 80 BESTs working in 33 local education authorities (LEAs) supporting over 70 secondary and 300 primary schools. BESTs are being implemented in a further 27 LEAs during 2003.