Report Calls for New Challenge on Children's Mental Health

As part of the Commission on Children and Young People's Mental Health, we are calling for the Prime Minister to set a new Challenge on children and young people’s mental health.

The Commission's final report, Time to Deliver, asks Theresa May to develop a "Prime Minister's challenge on children's mental health", similar to former Prime Minister's David Cameron's "dementia challenge", which led to increases in investment and awareness.

Over the last year, the Commission has monitored progress made in improving Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) following the government’s investment of an extra £1.4bn over five years.The report suggests that it is unclear how much of the new money is reaching frontline services.

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:

The government must make sure that the extra money for children’s mental health goes where it’s intended - on creating better services with a greater focus on early intervention. Jeremy Hunt has described CAMHS as the single weakest area of NHS provision, but, after years of underfunding, the promised improvements will never happen if the new money is diverted.”

The report also says that there needs to be a greater focus on wellbeing within schools.

Sarah added:

Many schools work very hard to support children’s mental health and prevent problems from developing, but this all too often goes unrecognised. As the report suggests, schools should be celebrated when they do good work around wellbeing.”

We will be launching a Wellbeing in Schools campaign next year aimed at rebalancing the education system.

Key findings of the Report

  • In the first year, of the expected £250m, only £143m was released, and of that only £75m was distributed to clinical commissioning groups. While it is unclear how much of this has reached frontline services, mental health providers have indicated that they have not yet seen this increased investment.
  • Findings reveal that two thirds (66.9 per cent) of young people aged 16-34 who had attempted suicide had not subsequently received medical or psychological help.
  • The Commission’s research has also identified that specialist mental health services are on average turning away nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of the young people referred to them for treatment.
  • Research supports previous findings that workforce difficulties are a key barrier to the implementation of the vision set out in Future in Mind.  83 per cent of trusts which responded said they had experienced recruitment difficulties, with a similar number of trusts saying they have had to advertise posts on multiple occasions to fill roles, with mental health nurses being the most difficult profession to recruit, followed by consultant psychiatrists.
  • The report backs our Resilience in the Digital World report in calling for a strategy to empower young people to live safe digital lives. This should focus on developing young people’s resilience and critical thinking skills in the face of online threats, given the impossibility of eliminating all online risk.
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