Sunderland to benefit from Government investment into childrens' wellbeing

Pupils will get more support. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Pupils will get more support. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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Wearside will get better mental health provision for children as part of a Government pilot.

The city is to be one of 22 locations across the country to benefit from a £3 million joint investment by the Department of Education and NHS England.

The money will support the wellbeing of children who need better access to mental health provision. Pupils will be able to access services more easily through their school.

Schools NorthEast, the regional schools network, has today backed the plans to pilot better Sunderland's mental health provision for youngsters.

In October, the organisation announced it would launch a schools-led commission into the mental health of children in the North East next term.

The commission will bring together leaders across education, health, police, local authorities and other stakeholders to develop a schools-led approach to addressing mental health.

Mike Parker, Director of schools North East, said: "Mental health is one of, if not the most pressing concerns raised by head teachers in the North East, and echoed by their counterparts in other areas of the country.

"Sunderland has seen an alarming increase in the number of referrals for self-harm and other symptoms of mental health issues by young people, a situation that sadly is seen across the region.

"Austerity and public sector funding cutbacks are biting across all services that support families and young people which will take a greater toll over time.

"The more we can do to support schools to help their pupils, the better. It’s important that we recognise that parents also need support, as well as school staff who are under incredible pressure in the modern education system."

Hundreds of schools will benefit from the scheme in total - and it was in July this year that locations were invited to apply for the funding.

The link pilot will test a named single point of contact in 255 schools and in 22 pilot areas, meaning more joined-up working between schools and health services.

Money will be allocated to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in pilot locations. Others chosen include Bedfordshire, Camden and Wigan.

They CCGs from more than 80 applications to receive a boost of up to £85,000 per area.

Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, said: "Mental health is a key priority for this government and for me personally.

"The development of character, resilience and good mental health is vital alongside academic success in equipping young people with the skills needed to fulfil their potential."

The full list of pilot CCGs:

East and North Hertfordshire

South Cheshire

Bedfordshire

Salford

East Riding of Yorkshire

Tameside and Glossop

Walsall

Halton

Birmingham

Camden

West Hampshire

Brighton and Hove

Sunderland

Gloucestershire

Somerset

Hammersmith and Fulham

Waltham Forest

Tower Hamlets

Chiltern

Wigan

Haringey

Sheffield