The Government will provide £1.25bn additional funding for the care of children suffering from mental health problems such as self-harm, depression and suicidal thoughts, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced.
The new funding – to be confirmed in this week’s budget – will mean an extra £250m a year over the next five years for child and adolescent mental health services, a 35% rise on the £700m currently spent each year on these services.
Mr Clegg said the money will be used to treat 110,000 more children with conditions like self-harm, depression or anxiety and conduct disorder, with more evidence-based therapies, better-trained clinicians and better-organised services.
Announcing the new money at the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in Liverpool, Mr Clegg said there would be an ‘outcry’ if physical problems were left untreated in the way mental health is neglected in children and said the change would bring a ‘seismic shift’ in children’s mental healthcare.
Mr Clegg said: ‘There would be an outcry if a child with diabetes was left to cope without support or treatment. But that’s exactly what’s been happening with young people’ mental health services… That’s why I am determined to start a seismic shift to revolutionise children’s mental healthcare and end this unacceptable injustice.
‘By introducing waiting time standards and committing to talking therapies for children in every region, we are helping to build a fairer society where young people can get the right treatment and support they deserve to live a better life.’
Care minister Norman Lamb said: ‘I am delighted with this investment in what is truly a ground-breaking moment for mental health… Last year I appointed experts to advise on how we can fundamentally modernise children’s mental health services – this funding will be an essential boost to the new proposals, which we will publish shortly.’