THE Welsh Government has doubled the funding available to local authorities and local health boards across Wales to protect, improve and support the mental health of children and young people.
The additional £2.5m, which will be used to support projects relating the Welsh Government’s whole school approach to mental health, was announced by Education Minister Kirsty Williams and Health and Social Services Minister Vaughan Gething.
Working with partners on education, housing and employment to protect good mental health is a key theme in the third delivery plan for the Welsh Government’s mental health strategy Together for Mental Health, which was also published today.
The delivery plan recognises the progress that has been made to improve access to mental health services and includes a range of preventative actions including improving access to green spaces, cultural activities and outdoor recreation to support mental health and well-being.
As part of this approach, the whole school approach aims to ensure that mental health and wellbeing become central to the way schools work leading to more effective ways of prevention and early intervention.
The announcement comes just over a year since the Welsh Government formed a Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group to accelerate work on improving mental health and wellbeing support in schools.
The group was set up following recommendations from the Mind over Matter report released by the National Assembly for Wales’ Children, Young People and Education Committee in 2018.
The Ministers confirmed that local authorities and local health boards would receive £1.5m and £264,000 respectively to support projects across Wales.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people is so important and I’m pleased to announce further support for our whole school approach.
“Our National Mission places wellbeing at the core of our new curriculum, supporting our children and young people to become healthy confident individuals, who are building their mental and emotional well-being by developing confidence, resilience and empathy.”
Health and Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething, added: “Ensuring our children have access to effective mental health support is essential if they are to grow up to be healthy and confident individuals. I’m pleased to say that Wales has led the way by providing counselling services for children and young people aged between 11 and 18, as well as pupils in Year 6 of primary school.
“Today I’ve also published the latest delivery plan of our mental health strategy Together for Mental Health. The principle of partnership working across Government, public and third sectors underpins our approach, recognising no single body or sector can transform services and improve the mental health and well-being of our population alone.
“This ambitious plan takes us to the end of our 10 year Strategy. During that time we’ve increased our investment in mental health significantly In 2020-21 the ring fenced mental health allocation for the NHS will be £712m. This represents an increase of £109m since 2016-17.”