July 26, 2018, Huffington: The Children's Mental Health Green Paper Is Disappointing, This Is What Needs To Be Done By Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/childrens-mental-health-green-paper_uk_5b5992b8e4b0de86f493a594 Children and young people’s mental health is one of the major health challenges facing the UK today. We are seeing increased waiting times, a rise in school-led referrals and according to UNICEF, some of the lowest youth wellbeing in the developed world. Yesterday, the Government responded to a green paper on children and young people’s mental health, which as a community paediatrician, treating children with mental health problems, I hoped would provide some hope for the future. However, what was revealed was a disappointing response that focused too narrowly on the education sector. Don’t get me wrong, I agree there is a need for mental health support in educational settings. After all, in May this year, a FOI request to NHS Trusts in England found schools are on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day. Worryingly most referrals (56%) came from primary schools. However, children and young people’s mental health cannot be supported by one service alone. … The green paper proposes a “brand-new workforce” of mental health workers based in schools, focused on low-level intervention. The green paper does not address this fragmentation, and by concentrating purely on schools and specialist CAMHS, an opportunity is lost to mobilise local teams into a coherent local system around children and young people, preventing the new mental health support workers to function effectively. To put it another way, it feels like we have taken an exhausted, misfiring car to a mechanic, and been presented with a shiny 5th wheel, with no clear idea how it connects, or how it will help. Paediatricians’ support and contribute to the mental health system with 40% of paediatric outpatient consultations relating to emotional/behavioural factors, and a growing number of children in crisis seeking help in A&E. Community paediatricians like me are responsible for the assessment and support of neurodevelopmental disorders and disability, including most autism spectrum disorder, and an increasing proportion of ADHD work. … Mental health is one of the child health crises of our time and is an area deemed of ‘major concern’ to the children and young people the RCPCH works with. The Government has an opportunity to respond to young people’s concerns by implementing policies that support prevention whilst following a joined-up and fully inclusive approach. This includes all young people with mental health difficulties, wherever they are and however they present. Failure to do so will have catastrophic effect on the current, and future, generations of children living in this country.