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Mental health services 'not child friendly'

Mental health services 'not child friendly'

Mental health for young people is not ‘child friendly’ a parliamentary committee heard.

Mental health for young people is not ‘child friendly’ a parliamentary committee heard.

The children’s commissioner Anne Longfield  told  the health committee the system isn’t child friendly at all’.

She was giving evidence to the committee’s enquiry into children and adolescent mental health services.

She said children struggled to navigate the system and understand the available services.

Children told her waiting times were a problem ‘just a text’ would make a difference.

Paul Lelliott, the deputy chief inspector for mental health, at theCare Quality Commission said there was an increase in young people who have self harmed going to A&E.

He said problems with resources meant  some of them were admitted onto adult wards which was ‘not ideal’, he said.

Ms Longfield said the system was under pressure and some children and young people are ‘just not getting the treatment that they need.’

‘I was really shocked when 13-year-olds told me that feeling suicidal would not get them treatment,’ the children’s commissioner said.

She said children cannot be expected to ‘navigate between different entry points’ to get mental health care.

‘Socially and morally we cannot allow a condition to worsen without treatment,’ she said.

The commissioner said : ‘Clear central senior leadership is really important’ to spread good practice in children's and adolescent mental health servies  (CAMHS) and called for money to be ring-fenced.

However the under secretary of state for health Jackie Doyle-Price later told the committee that she thought ring-fencing can  ‘become ceilings’ for funding.

James Kenrick, the chief executive of Young Access  said  as most funding is for the under 18s ‘there is not an incentive for commissioners’ to provide care for young adults.

He told the committee: ‘The proportion of funding spent on children and young people’s mental health is clearly too low.

We’d be far happier about the level of funding if it’s all being used. Young people tell us they want it used an awful lot better.’

He  wanted young people to be ‘more involved in the design of services.’

Sarah Brennan the  chief executive,  of charity YoungMinds, said ‘CCGs are not always putting in the funding.’

She said  half  of  CCGs said they were increasing spending on CAMHS.

‘The balance isn’t quite right,’ the under secretary of state for health Jackie Doyle-Price admitted.

‘We will always make sure that people can access treatment based on clinical need. At the moment we are treating one in four. We think one in three would be a better service,’ she said.

NHS England’s national  mental health director Claire Murdoch told the committee that 70% of CCGs have increased what they spent on children’s mental health over the last year .

‘What we’re starting to see I believe is the slow turnaround of the oil tankers.’

She pledged that ‘We will move heaven and earth’ to get the £1.4bn promised for children’s mental health between now and 2021 to get to the frontline.


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