The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has called for a “wholesale shift in the scale of ambition across Government and the NHS on children’s mental health care.”
In an October 2017 briefing (pdf) for MPs, the Commissioner highlighted children’s inability to access mental health services in the NHS.
The briefing notes:
- Just over 200,000 children received CAMHS treatment last year, 2.6% of the age 5-17 population
- The overwhelming majority of NHS mental health spending goes towards those with the most severe needs
- This is despite the fact that early intervention is much cheaper to deliver and highly cost-effective in preventing conditions escalating
- The Government’s much vaunted prioritisation of mental health has yet to translate into change at a local level
- There is a massive discrepancy between children’s and adult’s mental health. Local areas spend an average of 6% of their mental health budget on children, despite children making up around 20% of the population
- Most local areas are failing to meet NHS benchmarks for improving services and providing crisis care
…alongside recommendations for improvement.