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Mental health services not fit for young people

Mental health services not fit for young people

Young people and children aren’t getting the mental health support they need, a recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed.
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Young people and children aren’t getting the mental health support they need, a recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed.

Dr Phil Moore, chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners Mental Health Commissioners Network, said: ‘Children and young people’s mental health has for far too long been a neglected area, a fact that is starkly reinforced by the report.

‘Many CCGs have huge financial challenges and to invest in children and young people’s mental health services often means investment cannot be made in some other area of need.

‘As commissioners we have a hard job trying to make access to services smooth and easy and we hate to see children finding it difficult to access the service they need.'

Mental health problems affect one in ten children and young people aged 5-16 years.

Unfit services

Last year, a Public Health England (PHE) report estimated that only 25% of children and young people who needed treatment received it.

Poor mental health support can lead to suicide, which is one of the leading causes of death in young people in the UK.

Between January 2014 and December 2015, 922 suicides and probable suicides were committed by people aged under 25 in England and Wales.

The CQC report highlights a lack of training, particularly in GP practices, increasing workload and too little collaboration between organisations to meet young people’s mental health needs.

Often, these problems result in long waiting times, up to 18 months in some cases, and services that aren’t person-centred and flexible enough.

Room for improvement

However, professionals are hopeful the report is a definite step towards mental health services improvement.  

‘Nonetheless, while it is evident that much more must be done, it is encouraging to see the examples of good and outstanding practice featured in the report.

‘These give us helpful lessons, like the importance of improving education and training in this area for children, families and professionals, as well as crucially making sure that young people are involved in the creation of the services being designed to support them,’ said Dr Moore.

The report is part of a series of measures, set out by Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017, to deliver better mental health support across the country.

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