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Mental Health Services: Children and Young People

Volume 633: debated on Tuesday 19 December 2017

15. What assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to mental health services for children and young people. (903028)

17. What steps he is taking to improve the provision of mental health services for children and young people. (903030)

We have assessed children and young people’s mental health as part of our ongoing work to improve services, and the results of our assessments have led to £1.4 billion of extra funding to support locally led transformation plans. The recent Green Paper aims to improve the provision of services in schools, bolster links between schools and the NHS, and pilot a four-week waiting time target.

Many young people with mental ill health report that crisis care is not good enough. Of course, the pressures on them can get even worse over Christmas, so will the Government back the call by the charity YoungMinds to set up a crisis hotline for children and young people that would be available through the existing 111 service?

We are approaching Christmas, and the hon. Gentleman is quite right to highlight the fact that it can often be the moment of greatest crisis for people with mental health issues. I was with the Samaritans yesterday to commend it for all its work—it is obviously a good pathway to help—but, absolutely, we will speak with YoungMinds.

“Jesse Evans—Autism Adventures” highlights the daily challenges faced by families living with autism, who are supported by self-sustaining groups such as Autism around the Combe. Will the Minister explain how the recent announcement of a multimillion pound development at West Cumberland Hospital will help those families?

My hon. Friend highlights the great synergy between those health services that the Government can provide, on which people obviously rely, and self-help, which is very important, as well as the help that people can give each other when they share their experiences. I commend the work of Jesse Evans and his “Autism Adventures” blog, which is extremely positive and educational.

My clinical commissioning group delivers better-than-average waiting times for mental health talking therapies and follows up 99% of all vulnerable people within a week of their first appointment. It does all that and more on significantly less than the average budget nationally, so will my hon. Friend look at south-east Staffordshire as a case study for delivering a good service with value for money?

How can I say no to such a proposition? My hon. Friend illustrates the importance of good leadership in all local communities. Where good leaders make something a priority, they will deliver good outcomes at reasonable value for money.