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(UK) $1.2B more for kids' mental health services; immediate help for "self-harm" risk

Jul 30, 2022, Hull Daily Mail: Children needing NHS mental health services ‘must be seen in four weeks’ Study calls for £1billion [$1.2B] injection into children's care with guarantee of next-day consultations for those at greatest risk of self-harm or suicide https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/children-needing-nhs-mental-health-7400824
Children needing NHS mental health services need to be seen within four weeks — or the next day for those at risk of self-harm and suicide — according to a new report.

A study from the Commission on Young Lives, chaired by former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield, said the current system was buckling and required a huge investment. It said NHS services often rejected referrals, including those for children who had self-harmed, attempted suicide or had eating disorders, while there were long waits for those who made it on to the list.

It called on the Government to agree a long-term strategy with an immediate billion-pound cash injection to improve support for youngsters with “guaranteed appointment and treatment times”. This meant all children and young people requiring NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services should be seen within four weeks, “with guaranteed next-day emergency appointments for children at risk of serious self-harm and suicide”….

It is thought one child in six aged six to 16 has a mental health issue – a “huge increase” from one in nine in 2017, the report said. Children from LGBTQI+ groups were “disproportionately affected”, as were those with special education needs and disabilities, and children from black, brown and minority ethnic backgrounds. Children in poverty were also said to be more likely to suffer and “feel as though no one and/or no service cares about them”. …

Ms Longfield said: “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 overall response from the Government to this children’s mental health crisis has so far been too slow and inadequate, and we are failing to support hundreds of thousands of children with mental health problems.”

Shadow health minister Rosena Allin-Khan said: “Our children’s futures can’t be put at risk because the Government continues to ignore the rising demand for mental health services, leaving many areas without the access to services that are so desperately needed. This is why the next Labour government will eradicate the postcode lottery, guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it.”

A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring children can access the support and resources they need, as early as possible. We’re continuing to take action to support their mental health – including £79 million [$95M] to ensure 22,000 more children and young people can access community mental health services, as well as to expand mental health support teams in schools to reach three million pupils by 2024.

“This is on top of our record investment to expand and transform services giving an additional 345,000 children access to support by 2024 and expanding the children’s mental health workforce by more than 40 per cent.”


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