MPs urged to back young people’s mental health early intervention hubs
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Norfolk MPs are being urged to back a funding campaign for a network of hubs to provide early support for young people facing mental health issues.
Early support hubs, which offer advice and support without an appointment or referral, exist in some areas but there is a patchwork of provision, including in Norfolk.
Fund The Hubs, a campaign involving organisations including the Children and Young People’s Coalition on Mental Health, Mind and The Children’s Society, is seeking a pledge of long-term funding.
They are also urging the Government, which has made young people’s mental health a post-pandemic priority, to provide more investment in specialist NHS mental health services and in youth services, as well as better support in schools.
Dan Mobbs, chief executive of the Norwich-based Mancroft Advice Project (MAP), which runs existing advice and counselling centres in Norwich and Great Yarmouth, has written to all the Norfolk MPs.
He said: “What we need is more consistent funding. To do that we need a national programme funded by the government because at the moment it is very much reliant on what those individual charities can achieve locally.”
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Mr Mobbs said Norwich MPs Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis had visited MAP centres to see its work.
“They have seen it with their own eyes so they know what it is like,” he said. “And a lot of the other MPs have been involved through our youth advisory boards, speaking to young people directly about the need for more accessible mental health support.
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“We would love to open up one in King’s Lynn, for example, because that is a really underserved area, and Thetford too.
“There is a patchwork and some areas just don’t have this kind of support. They have the normal statutory NHS services, which very much work with people when they get to a point of difficulty but don’t really do the early intervention and community based work.”
Young people from across Norfolk still face long waits for NHS mental health treatment despite improvements to services.
"When you look at the worst outcomes for children, which is a suicide, often they had no contact with any mental health services at all. If they had done so they could have prevented that happening. So being embedded in the community is really important," said Mr Mobbs.