Bishop of St Albans asks Government about mental health of young people in care

On 20th October 2015 Lord Stone of Blackheath asked Her Majesty’s Government “what progress has been made in establishing parity of esteem between mental and physical well-being.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question.

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the NSPCC report on achieving emotional well-being among young people in care found that 45% of them experience mental health problems, many of which continue to remain undiagnosed. It recommends that those young people should have not only an automatic physical health assessment but an automatic mental health assessment. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider introducing legislation to give that right to all young people as they enter care?

Lord Prior of Brampton: I am not sure that legislation is necessarily the right way forward, but perhaps we can pick up that issue with NHS England to ensure that it is written into the NHS mandate for next year. It is certainly something I will explore with them. It is worth noting that we are spending £94 million a year on IAPT for children, and we have increased spending on tackling eating disorders in young people by £150 million over the course of this Parliament. We are beginning to rectify what has historically been an area of huge underfunding of mental health for young people.