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Mental health champion for schools role announced

The Department for Education (DE) has created the role of a mental health champion for schools, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around young people's mental health, and has appointed Natasha Devon to the role.

Natasha Devon MBE is a television commentator and writer, and founded Self-Esteem Team and the Body Gossip education programme, delivering classes on mental health and body image to more than 50,000 teenagers, as well as their parents and teachers.

Over the coming weeks and months, Natasha will work closely with the education and childcare minister to help de-stigmatise young people's mental health.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I'm so excited by this opportunity to improve the lives of even more young people. At present, three children per average classroom has a diagnosable mental health problem, with many more struggling with undiagnosed conditions such as anxiety.

“This has a tangible impact not only on their happiness, but also on their potential. It's therefore vital that we can improve the support available for children and teens,” she continued.

The move comes as part of a wider government commitment to improve children and young people's mental health with £1.25 billion to be invested specifically in young people's mental health over the next five years.

Health minister Alistair Burt, who is responsible for mental health, said: “This money will transform local services so that every organisation involved with caring for children and young people works together to support them with their mental health, not just the National Health Service (NHS).”