Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, has expressed his delight at the government’s decision to invest £3.3 million into new local mental health support, which will benefit thousands of young people across the country. The increased funding will be directed towards twenty-three local projects, including counselling, mentoring, and arts programmes, whose aim is to prevent and alleviate mental illness.
The announcement was made last week by Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries and Public Health Minister Jo Churchill as part of the Government’s commitment to transform mental health care by allocating an extra £2.3 billion a year of funding through the NHS Long Term Plan.
Robin was particularly pleased that as part of the Government’s pledge the What? Centre will receive £90,000. The What? Centre supports LGBTQ+ 13-25-year-olds who display signs of mental illness by working with their families and in partnership with the annual Worcestershire Theatre Festival. Likewise, Robin was thrilled that £14,317 was allocated to Autism West Midlands (AWM), facilitating the organisation to continue its phenomenal, life-altering eight-week counselling programmes for individuals diagnosed with autism. Recently, AWM’s efforts have been backed by the Worcestershire County Council, who invested north of £400,000 in the development of AWM’s new supported living scheme for autistic adults with complex needs.
Earlier this year, the Government vowed to overhaul society’s approach to mental illness through better access to education, training, and support across communities. This included a commitment to train all teachers to identify the signs of mental illness in children, ensuring that they can intervene before issues escalate.
This crucial injection of investment will allow more children and young people aged 25 and under to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems. The projects focus on improving access to support outside of NHS services, including for groups such as LGBT young people or those from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The funding will come from the Health and Wellbeing Fund, part of a programme of Government investment in the voluntary sector.
Mental health services are being transformed through the NHS Long Term Plan so that 345,000 more children and young people have access to mental health support by 2024, including via mental health support teams in and around schools. This will significantly improve early intervention and prevention.
Commenting on the new funding, Robin said:
“Last year, I wholly welcomed definitive measures introduced in the budget to support mental health services across the nation. I believe supporting those with mental health issues is of the utmost importance especially in terms of early intervention.”
“This new funding is great news for local mental health services; I have long argued more funding is necessary to provide the emergency support and care that those experiencing a mental health crisis require.”
“Several constituents have contacted me over the years outlining the great distress caused by inadequate and untimely mental health provisions and I am relieved that this Government is taking this matter seriously.”
“This funding, directed specifically at younger people, will go a long way towards supporting our children at an age where mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders can first become apparent.”
Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries explained the importance of heightened investment in mental health by saying:
“We know children and young people today face many pressures at home and in their social and academic lives, so providing them with ready access to mental health support from an early age can help them thrive later in life.”