A national mental health programme to bridge gap between schools, colleges and NHS services will be introduced in Cornwall as part of the national roll out in 2019/20. Local implementation of the multi-million pound scheme will be led by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Pupils who are struggling with mental health will benefit from more joined up care and support across schools, colleges and specialist NHS services.
The Mental Health Services and Schools and Colleges Link Programme is a national initiative funded by the Department for Education, supported by NHS England and led by the Anna Freud Centre. The programme will be rolled out over four years from September 2019. It will reach every school and college in England over the next four years, identifying children and young people’s needs at an early stage and equipping professionals to support them.
Phil Confue, Chief Executive of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “With half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders beginning by the age of 14, there is no greater investment we can make from an economic or moral perspective than to promote the physical and mental health of children and young people.
“We are excited to be leading on the local introduction of this national initiative alongside a number of other developments and investments we are making to support the health and wellbeing of young people locally, including the opening of Sowenna – our first adolescent mental health unit, later this year.”
The programme aims to bring mental health and education professionals together so that more children and young people can get help and support when they need. By working together, professions can plan services for the future and help create long-term sustainable support for children and young people.
The Anna Freud Centre’s Chief Executive, Professor Peter Fonagy, commented: “The Link Programme brings together mental health and education professionals to work together to promote mental health and alleviate children and young people’s distress. This way we can identify their needs early and sign post them to the best support.
“This is a transformative programme and one which we at the Anna Freud Centre are proud to lead. It’s an indication of the groundswell of support that it is funded by the Department for Education, supported by NHS England and 13 partners from local authorities, health providers and the charity sector.”
The announcements build on the Government’s wider investment in children’s mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges, including compulsory health education lessons from 2020, to ensure every young person is given the tools to thrive despite the challenges they may face growing up.
Notes to editors:
The Link Programme was developed in response to recommendations in Future in Mind. In 2015/16 the Anna Freud Centre was commissioned to run a pilot of the Link Programme by the Department for Education and NHS England. This pilot ran successfully in 255 schools and Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services across 27 CCGs in England.
An independent evaluation found that the pilot ‘had considerable success in strengthening communication and joint working arrangements between schools and NHS Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services’. It recommended further testing and a second phase was launched in which the programme was scaled up. This phase included sixth form and vocational colleges for the first time. Phase 2 ran from 2017-2019 and was delivered to 1,100 schools/colleges and 1,020 mental health professionals across 23 CCGs and Local Authorities (LAs).