Early Mental Health Support For Children Is A Postcode Lottery

Early Mental Health Support For Children Is A Postcode Lottery

A new report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has suggested that funding for early mental health support for children is a postcode lottery, with some areas spending much more than others.

While overall funding is up, over a third of local areas in England have reduced their spending on preventative mental health programmes and early intervention for children and young people.

A new report by the Children’s Commissioner for England suggests that funding for early mental health support for children is a postcode lottery, with some areas spending much more than others.

The report looks at preventative and early intervention services, such as support provided by school nurses or counsellors, drop-in centres or online counselling services.

While the total reported spend on these kind of services has risen over the last two years, over a third of local areas saw a real-terms fall in spending - with nearly two-thirds (60%) of local authorities seeing real-terms cuts.

The amount spent per child was much higher in some areas than others. In London, local authorities spent an average of £17.88 per child on prevention and early intervention, compared to only £5.32 per child in the East of England.

Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:

 "We work with young people who say that getting the right mental health support from a youth worker, school counsellor or local charity saved their lives. So it’s deeply concerning that funding for this kind of early support varies so much across the country, and worrying that a third of local areas have actually cut their spending."

It's deeply concerning that funding for this kind of early support varies so much across the country.

"While extra money for specialist NHS services is of course welcome, it’s better for everyone if young people can get help before their needs escalate or they hit crisis point.

We need to end the postcode lottery in spending, and we need local services to work together more effectively. And, crucially, there needs to be much clearer and more consistent data. It’s extremely difficult for commissioners to make informed decisions about local services when reporting is so patchy."

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