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Mental Health Service Provision

Volume 681: debated on Tuesday 6 October 2020

What steps he is taking to equalise the provision of resources allocated to mental health services for (a) children and (b) young adults. (907112)

As I said in an answer to the hon. Member for Tooting (Dr Allin-Khan), we are committed to spending on children and young people’s mental health services, which is growing faster than the overall spend on mental health, and the overall spending itself is growing faster than the NHS budget.

See, Hear, Respond, a new service managed by Barnardo’s in response to covid-19, to provide early intervention support for families and children in crisis, has received more than 11,000 referrals since June. The majority of children and young people referred need support for their mental health and wellbeing. What early intervention measures have been introduced? Are they enough? Does the Minister agree that early intervention measures are key to tackling the increase in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs?

I could not agree with the hon. Gentleman more. The Government’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which is to support staff to respond to the emotional, mental health and wellbeing pressures that some children have experienced during the pandemic, is in place. As I have said, the last train the trainer session took place last week and those trainers are ready to go into primary schools to assist both teachers and parents to recognise when children display early signs of emotional distress or mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. I have been working closely with the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), to ensure that this programme is in place to address exactly the needs that he has highlighted.