Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price answers question on mental health in children

THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price rose on the floor of the House of Commons to answer a question regarding mental health in young people.

John Howell Conservative, Henley

What steps his Department is taking to help prevent mental health illness among young people.

Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We are committed to improving early intervention and prevention to ensure that young people with mental health problems do get the best start and the earliest possible treatment. To that end, we are introducing new school-based mental health support teams. The first 59 of these will start being operational by the end of December this year. The next wave of 124 more teams was announced on 12 July.

John Howell Conservative, Henley

With half of all lifetime cases of mental ill health beginning at the age of 14, will the Minister say how well the training promised to constituencies such as mine will help to stop these problems worsening as people get older?

Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

My hon. Friend is right: people with mental health conditions do tend to develop them as children. Clearly, the earlier we can give them support to help them manage those conditions, the better for their long-term wellbeing. Equally, however, we need to make sure we have sufficient community services when they leave school and get older, so that having invested in their wellbeing, it can be continued through later life.

Paul Williams Labour, Stockton South

Is the Minister confident that the mental health of the 5,000 children with special educational needs who spent time in school isolation booths last year was not harmed, and if not, what representations has she made to the Secretary of State for Education about this practice?

Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The hon. Gentleman, as usual, raises a very important issue indeed. Of course, people with special educational needs will be at risk of mental ill health more than any other cohort of children. I am having regular meetings with the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi), who has responsibility for children and families, about this very vulnerable group. Having targeted mental health provision across mainstream schooling generally and put in such investment, we now really need to home in on the groups at highest risk.

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