Are you aware of potential changes in legislation regarding children and young people's mental health?

The Department of Health and Department of Education in Westminster jointly published their green paper on Transforming children and young people's mental health provisionin December 2017.

What is a Green Paper?

Green Papers are consultation documents produced by the Government. The aim of this document is to allow people both inside and outside Parliament to give the department feedback on its policy or legislative proposals. This particular paper sets out the Government's plan for children and young people's mental health. It pays particular attention to the roles that education settings can play in both providing services and improving outcomes.

What does the Green Paper suggest?

Statements from the Green Paper say 'All young people deserve the best start in life. But too often, young people with a mental health problem are not able to fulfil their potential. Mental ill-health costs individuals, and society, dearly. And we know that adults with mental ill-health are likely to have already experienced mental health problems in their childhood or adolescence. The Prime Minister and this Government have provided the leadership needed to correct this historic injustice and are committed to delivering and building upon the vision set out in Future in Mind.'

'This green paper therefore sets out an ambition for earlier intervention and prevention, a boost in support for the role played by schools and colleges, and better, faster access to NHS services, in order to fill these gaps and fulfil the commitments set out in our manifesto. We set out here specific proposals that represent a fundamental shift in how we will support all young people with their mental health, and we look forward to working with you in making these proposals a reality.'

Key points noted in the Green Paper suggest the implementation of the following;

1. Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health appointed in schools

2. Creating Mental Health Support Teams to deliver some interventions and offering training

3. Introduction of a four week waiting time for access to children's and young people's NHS mental health services in areas piloting Mental Health Support Teams

What does the National Counselling Society think?

We are pleased to see the circulation of the Green Paper and hope the Government will take note of responses as we believe further commitment is needed. We believe there needs to be coherent and consistent advice and protocols, issued UK wide, with every education setting having access to appropriately trained counsellors within a timely manner. Access means actual talking therapy, not just initial assessments. It is highly important, especially when dealing with children and young people that the professional they speak with is adequately trained, after all we expect our teachers to be so.

How can we get involved?

We're currently preparing our response to the joint Department of Education and Department of Health consultation on the Green Paper proposals and welcome opinions from all.

As an individual you can also respond to the consultation, and in particular we ask those working in schools and colleges to respond with their own experiences.

Raise awareness and take to social media to begin the conversation of how we can influence change.

Full documents can be found online at:

Green paper full document

Green paper consultation questions

Green paper consultation response portal

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