Sunday 21 July 2024
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Councillors make funding call to expand Nottinghamshire mental health support for children

Two senior county councillors are to write a joint letter to NHS England asking for Nottinghamshire to be allowed to bid for more funding to expand mental health support in schools.

Councillor Jonathan Wheeler, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, and Councillor Scott Carlton, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, want more financial support to boost the countywide coverage of mental health support teams (MHST).

They acknowledge that the current levels of funding have had a positive impact in schools where there is MHST provision – but believe more financial support is needed to meet a growing demand for the programme.

It comes after the latest meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee (on Tuesday 20 February) was told that Nottinghamshire was not invited to bid for a slice of the latest round of MHST funding because it was deemed as a having a higher average of schools being supported than other areas.

Nottinghamshire NHS Integrated Care Board currently ring-fences £2.3m a year to maintain the originally NHS England-funded mental health support teams and although ‘significant progress’ has been made to enhance the MHST provision, it will only reach 45% of schools in the county by January 2025.

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Councillor Wheeler said: “The Health Scrutiny Committee unanimously agreed that a letter should be sent to NHS England asking that Nottinghamshire is allowed to bid for the next wave of funding to enable us to deliver more MHST teams in the county’s schools.

“At our latest meeting on Tuesday, we had a detailed and lengthy presentation from representatives from the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Nottinghamshire County Council and the Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board about the programme and the vital work which is being delivered in our schools.

“As a committee we really welcome the presentation, and the funding has done a lot of good based on the feedback that has been received from schools, parents, and children.

“We welcome the funding which has already been provided by NHS England, however we still think there are more opportunities to secure additional financial support.

“We’d appreciate being considered for submitting bids moving forward because we’ve got a track record of success and we want to deliver that for the whole of Nottinghamshire.”

Mental health support teams, made up of senior clinicians, therapists, and practitioners, allow children and young people to benefit from help for needs which would not meet the threshold of a ‘diagnosable mental health problem’.

Councillor Wheeler says schools can also take up the offer of training to establish mental health leads as well as engage with the NottAlone scheme, which provides support to local children and young people who are navigating the complexities of mental health challenges.

Councillor Carlton said: “Anybody can be affected by mental health. It doesn’t discriminate and we want to do everything we can to have the right support in place to help children wherever they live in Nottinghamshire.

“Mental health truly doesn’t discriminate, no matter your background or age, which is why it is so important to give young people the support they need.

“This is why I am really pleased to see that the Health Scrutiny Committee is taking a real interest in this and wants to do more to increase the level of support being delivered in Nottinghamshire’s schools.”

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For more information about NottAlone, visit or follow NottAlone on X, formerly Twitter, Instagram or YouTube using the handle @NottAlone1.

The Nottinghamshire Mental Health Helpline is also available on 0300 555 0730 from 9am -11pm, seven days a week, for anyone who needs emotional support or information about what help is available locally for people struggling with their mental health.

Also, The Samaritans are available, in confidence, 24 hours a day on 116 123.

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