7 Jan 2019

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Too many children and young people are being let down and left to face mental health problems alone, and this unacceptable situation has to be one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

“The plan’s aims of reaching all children in need of help over the next decade and to introduce waiting time targets, are very welcome.

“The promise of continuing to support young people through to the age of 25 rather than 18 is particularly important, because they are often especially vulnerable at this time in their lives and a disruptive move to adult services can be really difficult.

“While the commitment to reach more children in the community is positive, it’s disappointing that under these proposals the roll-out of better in-school support will still not happen for most children until after 2023.  A quicker way of achieving this would be to offer access to a counsellor in all secondary schools.  There is also very little detail about how improved crisis support will be rolled out.

“The plan is hugely ambitious, but there will be big challenges in making it a reality amid cuts to children’s social care, chronic staff shortages and making sure money reaches the frontline.

“Unless we overcome these challenges we risk failing a generation of children and young people.”