As Minister for Public Health and Innovation, Nicola is working on mental health policy and she knows the distress that mental health issues cause to individuals and all those who care for them.
She spoke at an important conference in Manchester, entitled ‘Children and Young People’s Mental Health: Promoting Integration and Early Intervention’. The Conference aims to bring together professionals from across the public sector to learn how to overcome the barriers that are preventing children and young people from receiving the mental health care they need.
Young people’s mental health is a priority for the Government, indeed the Prime Minister has increased investment in children’s mental health health with an additional £1.4 billion in funding and supporting the ‘Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’ which is aiming to transform NHS care across all ages. Nicola also wants to ensure that young people feel confident and safe seeking help. All children and young people should feel able to go for help when they need to, without fear of discrimination or stigmatisation.
Further, to tackle waiting times, NHS England has commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health to develop a new evidence-based treatment pathway for children’s mental health. The project will report in March, recommending maximum waiting times for referral to treatment.
Nicola says, Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14, and 75% has developed by 18. I am clear that the earlier we intervene, the better. Its essential that young people know where to find help easily if they need it, and that we continue to support our fantastic NHS staff, stakeholders, voluntary services etc as they work to ensure access to services.