Dan Parton (23/03/12), editor of our sister sitewww.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk, looks at thegovernment's £22 million investment in psychological therapies for children:
Recent news that the government is to invest £22 million in improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) for children and young people is very welcome.
Coming at a time when many other mental health services are experiencing budget cuts, this is, perhaps, an unexpected move - it is additional to previous money put towards the scheme - but shows the Government's continuing interest in, and support for, IAPT.
The Department of Health says the money will be spent over the next three years to expand state-of-the-art psychological therapies and extend training for people working with youngsters outside of health settings, such as in schools or youth groups.
This should help to reach out to children and young people who may not ordinarily register on health or mental health services' radar. It also increases the chances of a young person getting treatment earlier, before they hit crisis - which can make an immeasurable difference to the outcome.
Indeed, since one in 10 children aged 5-16 experiences a mental health problem and half of adults with mental health problems develop symptoms by the age of 14, early intervention can be crucial in helping people to tackle their difficulties and, in time - hopefully - recover.
Of course, earlier intervention could also reduce the burden on adult mental health services by tackling depression, anxiety and self-harming, sooner rather than later.
However, as Barbara McIntosh, head of children and young people's programmes at the Mental Health Foundation said, it is important to note that this investment will not signal 'job done' for children and young people's mental health.
For instance, the right services need to be commissioned - in collaboration with young people themselves - to ensure that they reach the right individuals, at the right time.
And, while the money will certainly make a difference, further investment is still needed - at a national and local level - to ensure that all children and young people with a mental health problem receive the help they need when they need it.