The Commons Library has published several briefing papers which will be useful to Members when preparing for this debate:

In addition, since these briefing papers were last updated, the National Audit Office has published a report entitled Improving children and young people’s mental health services (9 October 2018).  This examined the extent to which the Government is “on track to meet its ambitions for improving mental health services for children and young people”.  The Government has commented on this report in the following written PQ exchange:

Asked by: Berger, Luciana | Party: Labour Party · Cooperative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will accept all the recommendations of the National Audit Office’s report entitled Improving children and young people’s mental health services, published in October 2018.

Answering member: Jackie Doyle-Price | Party: Conservative Party | Department: Department of Health and Social Care

We welcome the National Audit Office’s focus on the important area of children and young people’s mental health services. We are going above and beyond many of the original recommendations set out in Future in Mind, for example, in improving support and access to services in schools through the recent Green Paper. We have also set ambitious targets on access, which we are on track to meet.

The National Health Service will also be considering what more it can do to improve children and young people’s mental health through the Long-Term Plan for the NHS.

26 Oct 2018 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 182750

Date tabled: 23 Oct 2018 | Date for answer: 26 Oct 2018 | Date answered: 26 Oct 2018

The most recent Government position on mental health services was outlined in the following PQ response published on Wednesday 7th November:

The Government announced its long term financial settlement for the National Health Service in June. This will represent an increase of £20.5 billion in real terms by 2023/24. The Government has asked the NHS to develop a long term plan which will set out a vision for the health service. The Government has been clear that better access to mental health services, to help achieve the Government’s commitment to parity of esteem between mental and physical health, is one of the principles which must underpin the plan.

The 2018 Budget set out some of aspects of what the long term plan will contain, and further details will follow when the plan is published in due course.

Work on developing mental health support teams for schools forms part of the work to implement the proposals set out in the Green Paper, transforming children and young people’s mental health provision. The first wave of recruitment for the Educational Mental Health Practitioners who will form part of these teams is now under way, and 210 people will take their places on specialist training courses from January. The intention is that these trainees will start working in schools during 2019. The initial local areas, or trailblazer sites, that will trial the Green Paper proposals will be announced in due course.

Recent press material

Fall in number of NHS psychiatrists treating children in England

The Guardian, 8 November 2018


Agenda: We need to put mental health at the heart of school life

The Herald, 8 November 2018

[Comment piece on mental health service provision in Scottish schools]


Mental Health Matters: The price of parity

Health Service Journal, 6 November 2018 [parliamentary subscription available]


Revealed: How patients referred to mental health services end up back with their GP

Pulse, 2 November 2018 [subscription required]


More students seek mental health support, analysis shows

BBC News, 29 October 2018


Thousands of young people in NI treated for mental health problems

BBC News, 29 October 2018

[Report about mental health provision for young people in Northern Ireland]


Mental health services to get £2bn funding boost in budget

The Guardian, 28 October 2018


Mental health services under-resourced, says Matt Hancock

The Guardian, 10 October 2018