Extra funding for mental health early support hubs

  • 27th February 2024

Thousands of children and young people will receive earlier, easy access to mental health interventions at 24 hubs in local communities.

The drop-in centres offer mental health support and advice to young people without a referral by a doctor or school.

Services provided include group work, counselling, psychological therapies, specialist advice, and signposting to information and other services.

The Government announced in October 2023 that £4.92m would be available for 10 early support hubs.

And it is now providing an additional £3m to expand the number of hubs to 24 across the country – from Exeter to Liverpool.

The £8m package will improve access for children and young people to vital mental health support, offering early interventions to improve wellbeing before their condition escalates further, which will also reduce pressure on NHS services.

Long-term support

Mental Health Minister, Maria Caulfield, said: “This government is taking the long-term decisions needed to make our healthcare system faster, simpler, and fairer.

“Mental health support for our young people is a key part of that.

“No child or young person should suffer alone, and this additional funding for 24 mental health hubs will improve access and bring in more staff and experts who can help those who need it the most.

“This will build on the brilliant work they already do, and supports our ongoing work to make sure every person has access the highest quality mental health services.”

The hubs are open to those aged 11-25 and are available for anyone who may not meet the threshold to receive NHS support.

A network of around 70 early support hubs currently exists across the country run by a range of local services including volunteer organisations, NHS trusts, and local authorities.

They aim to offer advice on wider issues which may affect a young person’s mental health, including sexual health, exam worries, jobs, drugs, alcohol, and financial concerns.

A vital role

The Fund the Hubs campaign group, compromising of BACP, Black Thrive Global, Centre for Mental Health, The Children’s Society, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, Mind, Youth Access, and YoungMinds, said: “The UK government’s additional funding, which now covers 24 existing early support hubs, will mean more young people can access early mental health support and advice in their community.

“The funding recognises the vital role that these hubs can play in easing the huge pressure services are under and provide much-needed early mental health support for young people.

“Thousands of young people and experts are still fighting hard to fund the hubs.

Care in the community

“These spaces mean young people can get support for their mental health as soon as they need it and we welcome this step forward and hope that a sustainably-funded full national rollout will soon follow, so every young person can benefit from mental health support in their local community.”

Progress is being made to support more children and young people with their mental health, regardless of background or location, with investment in NHS mental health services continuing to increase each year from almost £11bn in the 2015 to 2016 financial year, to almost £16bn in 2022/2023.

An additional £2.3bn of funding a year by March 2024 is also being used to expand and transform services, so an extra two million people can get mental health support.

This includes an extra 345,000 children and young people who will be able to access NHS-funded mental health support.

Support in school is also important so mental health support teams are being introduced in schools and colleges in England, with 50% of pupils expected to be able to access support by March next year.

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