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Mental Health: Children and Young People

Volume 598: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2015

14. What steps the Government are taking to improve support for children and young people with mental health problems. (900789)

Improving children’s mental health services is one of my highest priorities. We want to achieve this by integrating mental health services for children and young people through a major transformation programme backed by additional funding; by expanding the children and young people’s access to psychological therapies; and by working with the Department for Education to develop single points of contact for mental health in schools.

I pay tribute to the West Sussex youth cabinet that is looking into the issue of mental health provision for young people. Why does the Minister believe this area has been chronically underfunded for so long, and will he give me an assurance that this will not be the case in the future?

I agree with my hon. Friend when he commends the involvement of young people in discussing their services. Only last week, the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for East Surrey (Mr Gyimah) and I attended a youth select committee organised by the British Youth Council to do something very similar.

There are two reasons why I think these services have not been so good in the past. First, there is the difficulty of collecting information and data; and, secondly, there is the complexity of financing for services. I hope that we will address both of those, and we will ensure that people know about this so that things do not slide back by being more transparent about both.