The Department of Health (DoH) has announced that Natasha Devon MBE has been appointed the Department for Education’s first ever mental health champion, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around young people’s mental health.
Ms Devon was chosen for the role following her extensive work with young people. She works as a television pundit and writer – and has also launched two organisations which offer practical tips to young people on dealing with mental health and body image concerns.
She is also founder of the Self-Esteem Team and the Body Gossip education programme and has delivered classes to more than 50,000 teenagers, as well as their parents and teachers. Ms Devon has personal experience of having an eating disorder – and will use her personal experiences to champion young people’s mental health as widely as possible, as well as encouraging more children to talk about the issues they are dealing with.
The appointment is part of a wider government commitment to improve children’s and young people’s mental health.
Other measures include looking at the way in which mental health services for young people work with schools. A total of £1.25 billion will be invested specifically in young people’s mental health over the next five years.
The funding will transform local services, to enable every organisation involved in caring for children and young people to work together to support youngsters with their mental health, rather than the NHS being the sole provider of support.
Working with NHS England, the Department of Health is also investing £150 million over the course of this Parliament to improve eating disorder services.
This will be backed up by a new standard, so that young people who need help can be seen within four weeks by 2020 – or within one week in urgent cases.
The government says that the very worst emergency cases should receive support within 24 hours.
The funding will also be used to improve community-based services, to ensure patients are helped earlier – and fewer are referred to in-patient mental health services.
Education and Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said:
“Ensuring young people have access to good mental health support is vital.
“That is why we are promoting greater use of counselling in schools, improving teaching about mental health – and supporting joint working between mental health services and schools.
“But we know there is more we can do – Natasha is an inspiration to many young people and I’m delighted to have her on board as our first mental health champion.”
Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors
Duncan Lewis is the UK’s largest provider of Legal Aid mental health services and can advise mental health patients on a wide range of issues – including access to NHS mental health services and detention under the Mental Health Act.
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors regularly visit NHS hospitals and police stations to advise on mental health law – and are available nationwide at short notice for hospital and police station appointments.
In some cases, Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors may be able to advise the nearest relative or carer of a mental health patient on a range of issues, including initiating treatment reviews where appropriate.
For expert legal advice on mental health law, call the Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors Helpline on 0203 114 1124.