Children in need of NHS mental health services ‘should be seen within four weeks’

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Children who need NHS mental health services should be guaranteed to be at risk of self-harm and suicide within four weeks, or the next day, according to a new report.

The study, carried out by the Commission on Young Lives, led by former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield, said the current system was under pressure and called for a huge cash injection. What is it.

She criticized the fact that NHS services often turn down referrals for help, including for children who have self-harmed, attempted suicide or have eating disorders, while those on the list There is a long wait.

It called on the government and the next prime minister to sign up to a 5 to 10-year strategy to improve youth support with an immediate £1bn cash injection including “guaranteed appointment and treatment times “are

It means a national guarantee that all children and young people who need NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are seen within a four-week period, “children at risk of serious self-harm and suicide”. with a guarantee of next-day emergency appointments”.

Access to mental health services remains a “post code lottery”, with 76 per cent of parents in a recent survey by Young Minds saying their children’s mental health worsened while waiting for help, the report said.

Furthermore, in 2020/2021, only 23% of children referred to NHS services actually started treatment within four weeks, it added.

This is against a huge increase in demand for help, with areas such as eating disorders among those seeing growth.

In March 2022, 90,789 young people were referred to NHS children and young people’s mental health services, the highest number since records began.

The report said: “Young Minds told us of two particularly distressing examples of young people who had attempted suicide but had not yet accessed NHS Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS). There were coins.

A young woman was admitted to A&E by ambulance after attempting suicide but was discharged 12 hours later. Her family contacted mental health services every day for a week but received no follow-up appointments or phone calls.

“We heard of a teenage boy who was discharged from hospital after trying to take his own life, but after 10 days no one could contact mental health services.

“A young woman was admitted to A&E by ambulance after attempting suicide but was discharged 12 hours later. Her family contacted mental health services every day for a week but she had no follow-up. Appointment or phone call not received.

Overall, one in six six- to 16-year-olds is likely to have a mental health problem – a “significant increase” from one in nine in 2017.

It highlighted those most likely to have poor mental health, with half of all children in care meeting the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared to one in 10 outside the care system.

Children from LGBTQI+ groups are also “disproportionately affected”, such as children with special educational needs and disabilities, and children from black, brown and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Furthermore, children living in poverty suffer more and “feel as if no one else and/or any service cares about them”.

In a foreword to the study, Ms Longfield described “a profound crisis in the mental health of children and young people in England”.

She said the Covid pandemic had had a big impact, and that school leaders, youth workers and people working in children’s services “have told me that dealing with students who self-harm and attempt suicide is now is a regular part of their professional life”.

These recommendations include safeguarding mental health for children and young people at risk points, such as those entering care, and a greater focus on increasing staffing levels across services.

There should also be a national implementation program to include a “whole school and college approach to mental health”, with the government committing to a funding package for mental health support teams after 2023/24. .

Failure to support youth with mental health problems could lead to more incidents of behavior in school, increased exclusion, and more children at risk of grooming and exploitation, the study warned.

The children’s mental health emergency in England is so profound that we face a generational threat to our country’s future national prosperity and success.

The report also called for “a national social prescribing scheme in every sector that would support GPs and health professionals in sports, arts, music, drama, activities, youth clubs, voluntary services, and young people’s confidence and self-esteem.” “Enables the outline to improve.”

Ms Longfield said: “The children’s mental health emergency in England is so profound that we face generational threats to our country’s future national prosperity and success.

“The overall government response to this children’s mental health crisis has so far been too slow and inadequate, and we are failing to help millions of children with mental health problems.”

Royal College of Psychiatrists registrar Dr Trudi Sainiweeraatne said it was unacceptable that so many children were waiting for treatment due to “too much pressure on specialist services”.

He added: “Without significant investment and urgent action to address the workforce crisis, many young people could be at crisis point.”

Shadow Health Minister Rosina Allan Khan said: “The future of our children cannot be put at risk as the government continues to ignore the growing demand for mental health services, leaving many areas with little access to such services. Not those who are in dire need.

“This is why the next Labor government will scrap the postcode lottery, which will guarantee mental health treatment for all who need it within a month.”

A government spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that children can access the support and resources they need as quickly as possible.

“We are continuing to take action to support their mental health – including £79 million to ensure 22,000 more children and young people can access community mental health services, as well as Expand mental health support teams in schools to reach 3 million students by 2024.

“This is on top of our record investment to expand and transform services which will see an extra 345,000 children accessing support by 2024 and increase the children’s mental health workforce by more than 40%. “