Mental health treatment ‘is denied to one in 4 children’

  • Mental health treatment ‘is denied to one in 4 children’

Mental health treatment ‘is denied to one in 4 children’

"Those excluded from treatment include children and young people that have self-harmed or experienced abuse".

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was allocating an extra £1.4billion for children's mental health services "to ensure 70,000 more a year have access to specialist care by 2020/21".

The past five years have seen a "substantial" increase in referrals to children's mental health services, yesterday's EPI report found, warning that services are facing strain.

According to EPI, on average current waiting times for treatment are twice as long as the Government's new standard of four weeks.

David Laws, chair of the EPI, said it was "very worrying" that services and support were being cut back just as demand was rising.

Anna Cole, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the report showed a "bleak" picture for vulnerable young people, compounded by cutbacks to local authority services.

"There continues to be a significant postcode lottery in the proportion of referrals accepted into specialist care and waiting times to treatment, with long waits in some areas", the report notes, with the longest reported being 188 days.

"It is also disturbing that many mental health providers seem unwilling or unable to provide even basic data on their services - the government should take steps to compel all providers to report regularly on their standards and performance, and this data should be collected and reported nationally".

Treatment criteria vary widely between services and regions. The outcomes for these children are often unknown, with no consensus as to who is responsible for supporting them.

"The fact that self-harm is not always sufficient to trigger access to specialist services clearly signals that wider preventive services are needed".

Speaking about the initiative, Madhu Singh, director, BM Institute of Mental Health, said, "This year, the theme of World Mental Health Day is "Young people and mental health in a changing world".

"New funding and training isn't going to reach the vast majority of areas for more than five years". Hence, we have designed our initiative such that will focus on adolescents and the mental health problems that they deal with. "The report further stated that about 9.8 million children aged 13-17 are in need of medical intervention with mental disorders prevalent in 7.3 per cent population".

A quarter of local authorities said they had cut services related to young people's mental and emotional wellbeing. As many as a quarter of local authorities have phased out vital support services, including school-based mental health services, family counselling and support for those living with domestic abuse.