The Government has said it plans to invest £22 million in children and young people's mental health services.
The money will be spent on the Children and Young People's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) project. The investment is in addition to the £32 million set aside in the Mental Health Strategy for therapies.
One in 10 children aged five to 16 suffers with a mental health problem, while half of adults with mental health problems develop symptoms by the age of 14. It is hoped earlier interventions will reduce the burden on adult mental health services by tackling depression, anxiety and self-harming.
The new funding will be spent on:
- Making treatment available to many more young people with mental health problems
- Providing access to a wider range of psychological therapies including help to support families, or treatment for major health problems of adolescence including eating disorders, depression, self-harm, and conduct problems occurring with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Training to focus on extending the skills and experience of NHS clinicians and people who work with young people such as teachers, social workers and counsellors.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "We cannot let this issue drift or rely on adult services as a cure-all. The money we are investing today will work specifically for children on therapies that are proven to work.
"Mental health must have the same priority as physical health. Giving children the treatment they need as soon as they need it will help ensure that millions of children suffering from a mental health problem will have a fairer opportunity to succeed in life."
Barbara McIntosh, head of children and young people's programmes at the Mental Health Foundation, welcomed the government announcement. She said: "We are delighted that the Government has committed to invest a further £22 million in psychological therapies for children and young people. At a time of austerity and cuts, it is encouraging that the issue of mental health, particularly children and young people's mental health, is being given priority on the public health agenda."
However, she also issued a word of caution, saying that further investment does not indicate that it was a "job done".
"Children's mental health needs to be supported from the day they are born, as a child's early years are crucially important in terms of developing good mental wellbeing and emotional resilience for their lifetime," she added.
The announcement follows on the back of the inquest into the death of an 18-year-old girl who was "failed by mental health services".