Children and young people are set to benefit from earlier mental health support thanks to £5m of fresh government funding.
The funding will go towards ‘early support hubs’ which offer mental health treatment to those aged 11-25, without the need for a referral from school or a doctor.
Approximately 60 of these hubs currently exist across the country – they are operated by a range of local services, including volunteer organisations, local authorities and the NHS.
The investment will allow 10 of these hubs to expand their service offering and reach even more young people before they reach a crisis point.
The drop-in centres deliver services such as group work, counselling, psychological therapies, specialist advice and signposting to other helpful resources.
Alongside these pilots, the government will also conduct an impact evaluation to acquire better insight into how the hubs are working, strengthening the evidence base for early intervention and possibly paving the way for a wider, national roll-out.
Thousands of children will receive earlier mental health treatment via 10 early support hubs in community locations.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) October 25, 2023
UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George explains how this funding will help provide early intervention to save young lives 🔻https://t.co/vLsZEB3vhl pic.twitter.com/k2JgnYJaT5
The early support hub funding comes as figures show around half of mental health conditions are established by the age of 14; three in four occur by 24.
Maria Caulfield, the mental health minister, said: “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.”
She continued: “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 investment follows extensive campaigning from the UK’s mental health ambassador for young people, Dr Alex George, as well as the Fund the Hubs Coalition, which comprises organisations like the Centre for Mental Health, Mind, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and more.
The government has indicated the 10 hubs benefitting from the funding will be announced in due course.
Image credit: iStock