Ahead of our autumn Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health, we are having productive discussions with the Department for Education on the vital role that schools can play in tackling both mental health problems and the stigma surrounding them.
The YMCA and NHS’s #IAMWHOLE campaign, which was launched this morning, shows that young people seeking help are often dismissed by those around them, largely due to a lack of understanding of mental health difficulties. Will the Secretary of State meet the YMCA to discuss what can be done to combat the stigma?
I am more than happy to meet the YMCA. I also want to point out the amazing work done by the “Time2Change” campaign. I was at an event to mark its 10th anniversary, and I heard from young people who have spoken up about their mental health conditions, which takes a lot of courage. Things are changing, and we can draw a lot of hope from what is happening on the ground.
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to point out that a GP is often the first point of contact for many people. What are we doing? Three thousand mental health professionals will be seconded to GP surgeries over the next few years to give GPs the back-up they need in that area.
Since the demand for children and youth mental health services far outstrips supply, will the Secretary of State consider diverting resources to voluntary bodies, such as the admirable Off The Record in my constituency, which have a much lower threshold for referral?
We will look at the role of voluntary organisations, and I totally agree with the right hon. Gentleman that they have an incredibly important role to play. We must also consider the role of schools, because teachers are extremely enthusiastic to do more around mental health. I think that if we give them more support there is a lot more they could do.