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Radio Bristol


12.01.17 Parliamentary submission



Response to Theresa May




The Bridge Foundation welcomes the commitment expressed by Theresa May in her recent speech to expand mental health provision for children and young people.  This includes "mental health first aid" training for secondary school staff and better links between schools and NHS specialist staff.  

While these proposals are positive, it is important that mental health provision also draws on the expertise present in the voluntary sector, for example expanding partnerships between mental health professionals in voluntary sector organisations and schools.  It's important not to rely only on teachers to offer the mental health support which young people may need, as some young people will need more specialist professional input. For example, The Bridge Foundation formed partnerships with 17 schools across Bristol in 2016, giving these children access to highly specialist therapists and counsellors with expertise in working with children.  The Bridge Foundation is concerned that there is a general difficulty in primary school aged children in particular  accessing the support they need either in school or through external agencies, and strongly urges the government to make sure that children of all ages can access the specialist mental health services they need without an undue wait.   Health services, schools and the voluntary sector need adequate funding to be able to work together to deliver this provision. In fact, Freedom of Information requests have found that 57% of CCGs plan to reduce their spending on child mental health in 2017.

The announcement of "mental health first aid" training in secondary schools is welcome, so long as this goes alongside the provision of longer term and more substantial mental health support for secondary school pupils.  The Bridge Foundation recognises that not all difficulties will be helped by a "quick fix" approach, and that many young people will need more specialist or longer term support with their mental health.  Mental health first aid and online provision are helpful for children with lower level mental health needs, but we know that one in ten children / young people are in need of more specialist input from trained professionals. 




The Bridge Foundation for Psychotherapy and the Arts 2015         Registered Charity No. 1073759