The Welsh government have announced an additional £7.1m investment to help protect, improve and support the mental health of children and young people in Wales.
It claimed that the latest cash injection would help to further develop children and young people’s mental health services.
“Services for children and young people with mental health needs in Wales are overstretched”
Health minister for Wales Vaughan Gething was due to make the announcement today during a conference in Cardiff, which brought together Wales’ director of education to discuss “Developing a partnership Approach for Mental health and Wellbeing”.
The Welsh government said that the latest investment will be in addition to funding already agreed to support mental health in-reach support for schools and will build on previous investments to improve child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
It added that this investment would support the implementation of the government’s response to the recommendations made by the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee in its “Mind Over Matter” report last year, the government noted.
Helen Whyley, interim director at the Royal College of Nursing Wales, said it welcomed the additional funding to improve mental health services for young people.
“Nurses and the wider nursing family are key to promoting and improving the mental health and wellbeing of children”
Ms Whyley told Nursing Times: ”Nurses and the wider nursing family are key to promoting and improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people as they work a multitude of different settings, such as schools, the community and hospitals.
“Services for children and young people with mental health needs in Wales are overstretched at the moment with a shortage of children’s nurses and mental health nurses,” she said.
“It is vital that health care professionals who work with children and young people are employed in the right numbers and with the right skills to be able to deliver appropriate levels of care,” she added.
Ahead of the announcement, Mr Gething said: “Improving mental health for everyone is a top priority for me as health minister and for the Welsh government.
“In Wales, we’ve taken action to put services in place to help children and young people deal with the pressures of everyday life. In recent years we have been able to provide additional funding to expand the numbers of specialist staff and develop new services,” he added.
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“The extra funding I’m announcing today is a significant and meaningful investment to help us do more to protect, improve and support the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people by further developing these services,” said Mr Gething.
The £7.1m investment is in addition to £1.4m being invested by the Welsh government in a programme of mental health in-reach support for schools to strengthen the support from CAMHS in schools in four pilot areas across Wales.
Minister for education, Kirsty Williams, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people is an absolute priority, and our ‘whole school’ approach ensures this is central to the way schools work and touch on all the different aspects of school life.”
“This funding will help build on the dedicated, professional support we provide to schools, including through our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), to ensure our pupils are fully supported through each stage of their education,” she added.