Dr Neil Hudson MP has welcomed the Government’s announcement to invest almost £5 million in early support hubs nationwide to deliver mental health support for children and young people.
Through these open-access early support hubs, mental health treatment can begin sooner ensuring fewer youngsters reach crisis point and will help save more lives.
The scheme is being backed by the Government’s Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, who met with Dr Hudson back in March to discuss the policy. Dr Hudson was keen to support along with his ongoing work with mental health champions 3 Dads Walking who are campaigning to put age-appropriate suicide prevention on school curricula.
Around 50% of mental health conditions are established by the time a child reaches the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24. However, access to early support can prevent infants, children and young adults from developing enduring conditions that can have devastating long-term impacts on their lives and life chances, as well as the lives of their loved ones.
The drop-in centres offer mental health support and advice to local young people who will not need a referral by a doctor or school. They will not even need an appointment. Services provided include group work, counselling, psychological therapies, specialist advice and signposting to information and other services.
Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“Many mental health issues are experienced in childhood and adolescence so investing almost £5 million in easily accessible mental health drop-in hubs for our young people is exactly the kind of proactive, evidence-based Government policy that will improve mental health outcomes for our young folk.”
“This preventative medicine model delivers for both people and the NHS, and I am proud to support it.”
“I know a lot of campaigners – including Dr Alex George whom I met to speak with about this project – have worked incredibly hard to make this policy a reality so I congratulate everyone on their efforts. The Government is listening, and we are now delivering for our young people and their futures.”
Mental Health Minister Maria Caulfield added:
“To parents across the nation - I want to assure you we’re working to get your children that vital early support. Our funding will help hubs to hire counsellors, youth workers and other local experts. It comes on top of an extra £2.3 billion a year to transform NHS mental health services and help millions of people.
“I’d like to thank Dr Alex George and campaigners for their efforts highlighting the importance of early intervention in mental health. This funding can help to avoid tragic waits and save lives.”
The hubs are open to those aged 11 to 25 years old, and importantly they are for anyone who may not meet the threshold to receive NHS support. Youngsters going through the trauma of worry, anxiety or stress will have a physical space to go to when their problems first emerge.
A network of roughly 60 early support hubs currently exists across the country. They are run by a range of local services including volunteer organisations, local NHS trusts and local authorities.
The £4.92 million will enable 10 existing hubs to expand their current services locally and employ new staff like counsellors or youth workers. The 10 hubs benefiting from the funding will be announced in due course.
The government’s Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, said:
“Early intervention in mental health is paramount, and today’s announcement of additional funding for early support hubs across the country is a milestone to be celebrated.
“No child or young person experiencing trauma should reach crisis point, and nobody should endure the enormous tragedy of losing a loved one to mental illness. We have to make sure the support is there as early as possible.
“That is why I will keep working with the government to ensure every child and young adult knows they have somewhere to go when they feel lost, overwhelmed or down.”
Early support hubs also offer advice on wider issues which may affect a young person’s mental health, including sexual health, exam worries, jobs, drugs, alcohol and financial worries.