Centre for Mental Health has today published a letter to the Secretaries of State for Health and Social Care and for Education in response to the green paper Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health. The letter welcomes many aspects of the green paper and calls for a greater focus on the potential for schools to support children and young people’s mental health and on meeting the needs of the most marginalised and disadvantaged.

The letter notes that the green paper has created a rare opportunity to rethink children and young people’s mental health. “The Government has the opportunity to radically transform children and young people’s services and society so that it creates sustainable changes for young people and addresses some of the injustices the Prime Minister has recognised and sought to take on.”

The letter calls on the Government to invest in interventions and training that acknowledge and address social determinants of mental health. It recommends coproducing services so that they are led by and shaped around children and young people’s needs.

The Centre’s response builds on research carried out over a number of years, including recent reviews of evidence about children and young people’s mental health and evaluations of pioneering work in Birmingham and London with young people from marginalised communities.

Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: 

The green paper has placed a welcome focus on the important role of schools in supporting children and young people’s mental health, and we are glad to see the plans to enhance that. We are concerned, however, that the green paper does not go far enough to support the creation of a whole school approach in all schools, and that without the right resources there is a risk that some children will still not get the help they need in time.

It calls for the development of psychologically informed school environments, which emphasise therapeutic relationships, focusing on students’ strengths and supporting wellbeing. And it says that these some principles should be used to develop services outside school that reach marginalised communities.

Download our response here