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Dartford to pioneer new mental health service

By Sean McPolin

Dartford has been selected as one of a handful of areas in England to pioneer a new mental health service.

It is one of 25 ‘trailblazers’ in the country that will work with schools and the NHS to provide expert support for more than half a million pupils.

It is part of the Government’s long-term plans to improve young people’s mental health.

Dartford will pioneer a new mental health service
Dartford will pioneer a new mental health service

North Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), which includes Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley will have teams based in and near schools and colleges, at the start of this year.

MP Gareth Johnson thinks not enough has been done to help people with mental health problems.

He said: “This is good news for the town and I welcome these plans.

“For many years, we have not done enough to help people with mental health problems but this is now changing.

“We must do more to tackle the stigmas attached to this issue and assist children and young people as much as we can.”

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Children and young people with mental illness should receive the same level of support as those with physical illness.

“Made possible by the extra £20.5 billion we are investing in the NHS, today’s announcement will see the health and education systems come together so our children can access the help they need at school and takes us a step closer to achieving our goal of parity between mental and physical health.”

Each designated team will support up to 8,000 children and young people and will be responsible for a cluster of around 20 schools and colleges each, depending on their size.

The teams will build on support already in place from schools to treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues and will help children and young people with more severe needs.

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