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Pledge to boost mental health support in schools

From BBC - December 2, 2017

Children and young people in England are to be able to access mental health support at school or college under government plans to improve services.

The proposals include introducing a four-week waiting time for youngsters needing specialist support and new mental health support teams in schools.

It is hoped around one in four schools in England will have this provision in place by 2022.

Campaigners say the measures are welcome, but long overdue.

The issue of young people's mental health has long been of concern, with parents, charities and healthcare professionals warning that families are not getting the support they need.

According to new NHS figures, around one in 10 girls aged 16 or 17 were referred to specialist mental health services in England last year.

The government's new green paper proposes:

The new measures are part of a 300m investment by the Department of Health.

Sienna and Rachel's story

For 18-year-old Sienna (not her real name), the onset of an eating disorder and depression five years ago has meant she has been in and out of hospital units, sometimes for long periods.

For her, the main frustration with the current system has been the lack of joined-up care.

"One of the things is that I have had no continuity, because I have been sent to quite a lot of units and stuff and had different teams. I have never had one person that's been there the whole way.

"It's all very mixed up. It feels really out of control and like I have not got one person - I have just been sent to loads of different places, I have been given bits and bobs, but it does not all fit.

"It would have been helpful if I could just have had someone from the start or had a therapist that sort of stayed with me,some continuous treatment that is not literally just putting me in hospital and keeping me alive and then discharging me.

"I have never had anything that's sort of continuous, so how do I know what works?"

Sienna says she felt while the symptoms of her anorexia were addressed, the underlining issues causing them were not.

"I just feel like I have never been properly treated for the mental side - they just sort of put me in hospital when my physical side's bad and they do not treat anything else, and then they wonder why it keeps happening, why I have to keep going back into hospital."

'Prevention better than cure'

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