Children and young people in Reading and West Berkshire will be given more support for their mental health thanks to government funding for a new pilot scheme.

Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group – which funds and plans local NHS services – said it would get more than £800,000 to run two dedicated mental health and support teams – one in Reading and one in West Berkshire. The support teams, made up of professionals from the NHS and local authorities, will work in schools and directly help children and young people to improve their emotional or mental health. Staff from the University of Reading will be providing training and equipping teams with the skills to raise awareness of mental health and reduce stigma.

The project will initially run for for three years. A select number of schools will be invited to take part in the pilot, with work continuing as usual with all schools to support children with mental health and wellbeing.

Nationally, one in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a mental health condition in 2017. Teenagers with a mental disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood.

Government Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention Jackie Doyle-Price said: “Encouraging young people to think about their mental wellbeing in the same way they do their physical aches and pains is a vital part of our goal to put mental and physical health on equal footing, and will help ensure no young person is left to suffer in silence.”

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