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Children’s mental health services fall short of growing need for help

Today is World Mental Health Day and although mental health should be a focus each and every day, it seems important for Kids Matter to jump on the bandwagon and be one of the many speaking up for the children who are neglected by a mental health service that falls short of the growing need for help.

In the press lately, there have been an abundance of reports that all suggest that children are not getting the mental health support that they need. The Independent writes:

At least 55,800 children were denied access to child and adolescent mental health services in England despite being referred last year amid cuts to services, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) says.

The Guardian says that ministers’ promises to increase funding for children’s mental health services is not enough, referencing a new report by the National Audit Office:

The National Audit Office said even if current plans to spend an extra £1.4bn on the sector were delivered, there would be “significant unmet need” because of staff shortages, poor data and a lack of spending controls on NHS clinical commissioning groups.

The Children’s Commissioner recently released a hard-hitting report that gives fuel to the notion that children’s inability to access mental health support leads to a whole range of additional problems, from school exclusions to care placements breaking down to children ending up in the youth justice system.

Report findings show that just over 200,000 children received CAMHS treatment last year, 2.6 per cent of the age 5-17 population. Comparing this to recent research on the number of children with a mental health condition Commissioner’s office estimates that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 children with a mental health condition received helped last year.

The report also suggests that early intervention is cost effective but is currently a postcode lottery of fragmented support depending almost entirely on where a child grows up and which school they attend. In fact, most local areas are failing to meet NHS benchmarks for improving services and providing crisis care. Nearly 60 per cent of local areas are failing to meet NHS standards on improving services, and over 55 per cent of local areas are failing to meet NHS standards on providing crisis care in A&E and other settings.

Kids Matter cares deeply about the mental health of not only children but the families from which they come! We offer an early intervention parenting programme that aims to strengthen families, and hopefully circumvent some of the problems that might lead to mental health issues in children. If Government is struggling to commit to a provision of resources, church run programmes like Kids Matter – that are free and effective – should be taken advantage of.

If you’d like to chat further about Kids Matter and its ability to make a difference in your community, please do get in touch at info@kidsmatter.org.uk.

Photo by Maria Elena Zuñiga on Unsplash

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