Schools should be given £500m of NHS funding, IPPR says

New research published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has recommended that £500 million of NHS funding should be earmarked to provide mental health professionals for every school in England.

The study explained that the move would be part of a wider strategy to place schools at the heart of mental health services, to help stem the growing mental health crisis among young people.

IPPR also called on Ofsted inspectors to pay closer attention to the provision of mental health services in schools, citing that just one third of inspection reports had made a reference to mental health and wellbeing.

Craig Thorley, a research fellow at IPPR commented: “Schools are particularly well placed to be the hubs from which early intervention support for pupils with emerging mental health problems can be based. But schools must be able to regularly access high-quality specialist support from mental health professionals and counsellors.

“Without these very affordable changes, the life chances of the next generation will continue to be needlessly blighted by mental ill-health.”

The report highlighted that on average, three children in every classroom have a clinically diagnosable mental health condition, while 90 per cent of head teachers have also reported an increase in such problems over the last five years.

The government has pledged £1.25 billion towards tackling mental health issues among young people until 2020. However, the IPPR has claimed that money is simply being used to ‘fix the gaps’ elsewhere in the health service.

The thinktank argued that instead, £500 million of NHS Funding should be ring fenced to provide schools with ready access to a mental health professional.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education commented: “That’s why we are putting a record £1.4 billion into transforming the mental health support available to young people in every area of the country and are working with NHS England to strengthen the links between schools and mental health services. This will help make sure young people get the mental health support they need more quickly.”

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