Over the past 20 years the importance of improving the physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people has been a strong theme of successive government policy.
In general, common strategic goals aim to:
- Safeguard, promote and improve children's psychological, emotional, mental and physical health and wellbeing
- Improve child safety
- Prevent mental and emotional health issues
- Support a better quality of life
- Tackle misuse of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
- Improve access to appropriate care and support
Youth Mental Health First Aid has sat within these frameworks since its inception, and is increasingly moving up the policy agenda.
In January 2017, the Government published its response to the 2016 report, "The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health", addressing key recommendations made by the independent Mental Health Taskforce. This response included a strong focus on early intervention and prevention of mental ill health in young people.
As part of the Government's commitments set out in this paper, they also funded the Youth MHFA in Schools programme. This programme aims to bring Mental Health First Aid skills to every state school in the country from 2017-2020, by training at least one person per state school. (For more information, see www.mhfaengland.org.)