Children are not receiving the mental health care they need, putting lives at risk, the Care Quality Commission has said.
The CQC review found that almost 40% of specialist child and adolescent mental health services in England needed improvement.
NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’ for mental health, stated problems such as long waiting times, inequalities in access to services and a lack of support while young people were waiting for care. The fragmented support system has left many young mental health sufferers waiting for up to 22 months before seeing a mental health professional.
England’s children’s commissioner Anne Longfield said there should be a ‘presumption’ among those working in the sector that all children in care should receive support for their mental health. She added that a ‘virtual mental health lead’ should also be established to ‘ensure that every young person in the care system is getting the support they need for their mental health and emotional wellbeing’.
Improving mental health care for young people has to be one of the main priorities for the NHS. After all, many mental health conditions later in life originate from trauma in a person’s childhood or young adult life.
But it shouldn’t just fall on the NHS to improve the situation. Other bodies have to take responsibility and move things forward; fortunately, this has started to happen.
The Local Government Association wants £90 million to be spent making access to on-site counselling services within secondary schools mandatory.
This comes after the government promised to invest £1.7 billion in mental health and wellbeing services for children and mental health.
For information on how digital health could become a key player in improving children’s mental health, take a look at our SlowMo project, which is the first digital health platform that helps people to visualise their thoughts and thinking habits and provides a revolutionary shift in the accessibility of therapy and self-management tools.