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MIDWEEK MINDSET: Government mental health plans will ‘fail a generation’ MPs warn

Young woman outside in autumn or fall looking sad depressed or thoughtful drinking coffee

Publication date: May 9, 2018 Author: Gem Sofianos

Government mental health plans will ‘fail a generation’, MPs warn

The government’s proposals for improving mental health for children and young people will ‘fail a generation’, MPs have warned.

A report by the by two select committees, Education and Health and Social Care, said: ‘The Government’s strategy lacks ambition and will provide no help to the majority of those children who desperately need it.

‘The narrow scope does not take several vulnerable groups into account, and the proposals put significant pressure on the teaching workforce without guaranteeing sufficient resources.’

The report also warned that there is also ‘little or no attention to prevention or early intervention’ and that the speed of delivery will also leave hundreds of thousands of children ‘with no improvements in provision for several years’.

‘The long timeframes involved in the strategy will leave hundreds of thousands of children and young people unable to benefit from the proposals,’ the report said.

‘Rolling out the plans to only “a fifth to a quarter of the country by 2022/23” is not ambitious enough. We advocate more widespread implementation and iterative learning methods to inform best practice across the piece.’

The Government’s plans were set out in its children and young people’s Green Paper in December last year. The plans included the training and appointment of a ‘mental health lead’ in every school and college to provide support to children and young people.

‘The select committee’s stark warning about the scale of the crisis in children’s mental health services mirrors what I have been saying for some time,’ Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said.

‘Many thousands of children are failing to receive support and care when they need it and too often referrals for treatment are only being made when a child reaches crisis point. In the worst cases, children have even attempted to take their own life just  to access services.

‘The Committee is right to say the Green Paper is not ambitious enough. It is time for the Government to set itself an ambitious deadline, with staging posts along the way, to deliver a fully joined-up system that closes the gap between spending on adult and children’s mental health services, introduces proper monitoring of need and access, and invests more in early intervention so that problems are dealt with before they become critical.’

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UK parks and green spaces generate over £34billion of health and wellbeing benefits, new study suggests

Over the bank holiday weekend most of us would have been out enjoying the glorious sunshine in one of the countless parks and green spaces across the country.

According to new research our parks and green spaces not only provide us with the chance to relax and soak up some much-needed vitamin D, but also provide billions in health and well-being benefits.

Research from the Fields in Trust suggests that parks and green spaces across the UK provide people with over £34billion of health and wellbeing benefits, including saving the NHS £111million each year.

The charity said the £34billion of well-being benefits are a result of people enjoying greater life satisfaction including both improved physical and mental health, directly as a result of using regularly using parks and green spaces.

The NHS figures are based on prevented GP visits, Fields in Trust said, and don’t include savings from non-referrals for treatment or prescriptions, which it said could mean ‘the actual savings to the taxpayer will be significantly higher’.

‘This report clearly demonstrates the economic and wellbeing benefits that parks and green spaces bring to people across the UK. At a time when parks and green spaces are under threat this is valuable evidence that the loss of green space is hugely damaging to people’s welfare,’ Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said.

‘The evidence is now clear: green spaces are good, they do good and they need to be protected for good.’

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‘Cycling Has Saved My Life’ – How two wheels can help your mental health

Journalist Amy Packham speaks to people for whom cycling has changed their lives, including Oliver Atkins, who believes cycling saved his life.

‘Cycling has saved my life’, Akins told Packham.

In an article for the HuffPost, Atkins, credits cycling as ‘the main contributor’ to his recovery following a severe alcohol addiction that saw him drinking up to 100 units a day. 

‘I used to suffer badly from anxiety and depression but these have become far more manageable and less severe thanks to consistent bike riding,’ he said. 

He has now been cycling for six years, three of which he has raced competitively.

‘It is a hobby, sport and mode of transport in one. It’s difficult to think of another activity where you can happily chat with friends and acquaintances while improving your mental and physical health in glorious surroundings which are ever changing,’ he told Packham.

‘I owe my life to a very simple piece of engineering and I’m thankful for it every single day of my now happy life.’

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