Mental Health Support Teams: Expansion welcomed but will it be too little, too late?

The acceleration of the Mental Health Support Teams initiative has been welcomed – but it is still not enough as current plans will reach only a third of children by April 2023.

The Department of Health and Social Care last week said that £79m would be allocated to increase the number of planned Mental Health Support Teams working in schools.

The initiative was originally launched pre-pandemic and had already been criticised for its slow roll-out. It was first announced in the government’s December 2017 Green Paper on mental health, with plans to reach just a quarter or a fifth of the country by 2023/24.

Pilots began work in December 2018 with 59 teams having been set up by March last year. The new plan in light of the pandemic is to have around 400 teams in place by April 2023. However, this still only reaches a third of the school and college-age population.

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