Green Paper must not distract from the vital work to implement Future in Mind's whole systems approach

James Kenrick, Chief Executive of Youth Access, has given a cautious welcome to the Government's Green Paper on children and young people's mental health, which has been published this afternoon:

 “The Green Paper represents welcome Government recognition of the urgent need to improve young people's access to early mental health support.

 “We are concerned, however, that the £300m earmarked for implementation of the Green Paper's ambitions does not address the scale of the problem. We also await confirmation that the funding represents new money.

 “We support efforts to improve the provision of counselling and mental health support in schools at long last. Voluntary sector youth counselling providers have a big role to play here. However, we must remember that services in schools do not meet the needs of all young people, including many of the most vulnerable adolescents who may be less engaged in education.

 “The focus on schools and a waiting time target to access CAMHS must not come at the expense of ongoing work to transform children and young people's mental health services.

 “Future In Mind's 'whole systems' approach retains system-wide support. The vital work to implement Future in Mind's vision of easy access, early intervention and prevention advice and counselling services in every community remains unfinished. We hope the Green Paper builds on this work, rather than distracting from it.

 “We are pleased that a new working group focussing on mental health support for 16-25 year olds will be set up in response to our work highlighting the deteriorating state of services for this age group. Young adults have the greatest unmet needs of any age group and have been overlooked for too long. We hope the working group is a prelude to a major initiative.

 “There remains a lot of work to be done if the rights of all young people to access an appropriate mental health service when they need it is to become reality. We look forward to continuing to work towards this vision with the Government, our members, young people and our many partners in the mental health, youth and advice sectors.”

The publication of the green paper will be followed by a 12-week consultation period. It is important that the Government hears the views of YIACS and other voluntary sector providers. We will be in touch with members soon to let you know how you can feed into our own response.