Debates between Baroness D'Souza and Lord O'Shaughnessy during the 2017-2019 Parliament

Children and Young People: Mental Health

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord O'Shaughnessy
Wednesday 28th March 2018

(6 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord O'Shaughnessy Portrait Lord O'Shaughnessy
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I recognise the right reverend Prelate’s point about the rising demand for services. We are trying to increase the proportion of children and young people who are helped from a quarter to a third, but obviously that leaves two-thirds who will not be helped. So there is a long way to go. We are unfortunately starting from a low base; we have to bring together many new staff and teams. I agree with the right reverend Prelate that speed is of the essence, but we must also be realistic about what we can achieve.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, are the Government carrying out research on the causes of the increase in mental health issues in both young children and teenagers?

Lord O'Shaughnessy Portrait Lord O'Shaughnessy
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The answer is yes, they are: the Green Paper has commissioned further research, and the amount of funding the National Institute for Health Research puts into this area has increased by 50% over the last seven years. However, we still do not understand the causes behind all mental illness, so this is an essential part of the strategy.

Children and Young People: Mental Health Services

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord O'Shaughnessy
Thursday 8th March 2018

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord O'Shaughnessy Portrait Lord O’Shaughnessy
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I thank the noble Baroness for those questions. On the issue of high eligibility thresholds, we are grappling with a need to expand the amount of mental health services that can be provided. Currently, about one in four children with a diagnosable mental health condition accesses NHS services. That is clearly not enough and the intention is to get that figure to one in three by 2021. Again, that is not enough but it would be progress. There is a need to move along the path, dealing first with those in the most acute trouble and then rolling out to those with less acute conditions. I agree with the noble Baroness’s point and recognise the issue. However, this cannot achieved overnight, not least because a huge number of new staff are needed to be trained in order to deliver that. We are looking at the issue of referral criteria. I should also point out to her that we have made big steps forward on waiting times and new standards for early intervention in psychosis and eating disorders. We are piloting a waiting time for access to specialist help and hope that that will start to move things along in terms of more children being seen more quickly, which is what we all want.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D’Souza (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that more work needs to be done on finding out what the early warning indicators of mental health breakdown in young children are?

Lord O'Shaughnessy Portrait Lord O’Shaughnessy
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I absolutely agree. This is why the changes that we are making to mental health awareness training in primary schools is critical. Most primary schools, through nurseries, take children from four—and even two or three—years old to make sure that staff can spot the signs in school and signpost to specialist services, where required.