Millions of pounds are being invested in mental health services in Nottinghamshire as services see an increase in referrals after the pandemic.
Community mental health services for children and young people will benefit from a minimum of £8 million investment through to 2023/24.
The funding, as part of a mental health ‘transformation programme’ for the county, was explained to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on 22 February.
Councillors were told there has been an increase in referrals for children with eating disorders and psychosis after the pandemic.
Gary Eves, head of mental health, learning disability and children’s commissioning for Nottinghamshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “In terms of the impact of the pandemic, we are aware that the impact is being seen in terms of referrals.
“We have invested £7m this year, we have frontloaded the investment in children’s services recognising the historical challenges but also the increased demand we have had coming through.”
The funding will support around 8,500 children and young people and around 7,000 children will able to access support via Mental Health Support Teams in schools.
£12 million is also being put towards the Severe Mental Illness (SMI) transformation plan over the next three years, supporting people with adult eating disorders, personality disorders and psychosis.
Chris Ashwell, Associate Director, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This really highlights the investment that’s going into mental health services and our ambitions for the future of mental health in Nottinghamshire.
“Some of those services have struggled to cope with the increasing demand in society for these services.
“We are working frantically as a provider to implement these changes.
“We have invested substantially across crisis services in children, young people and adults.
“We now have a 24-hour crisis line so they can call and speak to someone.
“We have got a programme for that being advertised on things like bus shelters.
“You can see through all areas of mental health speciality through all areas this funding is starting to come through and recruitment is starting to happen.”
Councillor Dave Shaw (Ashfield Ind) said: “I think we are moving to a new phase of having to live with coronavirus and we have people who are really worried about what the future holds.
“The virus is leaving a growing legacy of poor mental health and services are not equipped to deal adequately at present given the enormity of what we have gone through.”
Councillor Sue Saddington (Con), chair of the committee, added: “You’ve been given a fair amount of money, how can we ensure it will go to the right place and not be wasted elsewhere?
“To me, there has been an added spring to the tree and that has been the pandemic.
“All kinds of things have happened since the pandemic. My concern is the effect on young people, adults of middle age and then you look at the elderly who have been absolutely been trapped in their home.
“You mention you have adverts on bus shelters but if you had that problem, are you really going to read something on a bus shelter?
“How are you going to ensure this money gets filtered off to the right people?”
Mr Ashwell responded: “Those kind of messages in communities do help because they do get those people who don’t ordinarily go to the doctor and ask for a referral.
“Things like bus shelters, community centres and hairdressers all help to spread the message and that’s what we are trying to do.”