NYAS has responded to the Prevention in the 2020s Green Paper and has urged the Government to ensure the mental health of care-experienced children and young people is made a priority and focus of services going forward.

The Government’s Green Paper – Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s – outlines the desire to put prevention at the centre of all NHS care and decision making.

The consultation, which received 1,600 responses, has been welcomed by NYAS and is seen as an important opportunity for the charity’s voice to be heard and for it to have a say in shaping the future of the NHS’ mental health services for children and young people.

Ben Twomey, NYAS Head of Policy and Research, said: “There are lots of positive changes already being made within the NHS, including in its long term plan, but this is a real opportunity to make prevention a core part of what the NHS does when it comes to young people.

“We are taking our lead from the children and young people we work with. Many care-experienced young people are struggling with their mental health every day, and supporting them must be a priority for Government.

“Whilst we accept help is available for young people when they are in crisis, there’s not much support available to prevent young people reaching the point of crisis – this is something we hope will change.”

NYAS believes that children and young people who are receiving mental health support services should have access to independent advocacy services not just in hospital but when in the community too. It is vital that children and young people have their voices heard when decisions are being made about their futures.

Crucially NYAS believes that every opportunity must be taken to minimise the impact of trauma on the mental health and well-being of care-experienced children and young people.

The charity urges children’s services professionals who are supporting care-experienced children and young people to adopt a ‘do no harm’ principle which would help to ensure that no child has their mental health negatively affected by the decisions made about them. “We ask that the outcomes for care-experienced young people meet one simple test – are they good enough for our children?”