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England’s child mental health services face overhaul

March 26, 2015

 Mental health services for children and youth in England need a “complete overhaul,” according to a government task force. The task force has released Future in Mind, a report that highlights rising wait times and a lack of age-appropriate hospital services. More specifically, the report found a sharp increase in the number of youth under the age of 18 with mental health problems who are being treated in adult psychiatric wards. In addition, it found that fewer than 35 percent of young people with mental health issues are getting the help they need.

In response, the government has announced that it will provide an additional $2.3 billion for mental health system improvements and, based on the recommendations of the task force, the ministers have initiated a five-year plan to improve services. A large part of this money will be spent on ensuring that by 2020, an additional 100,000 children and young people get help.

The Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, will lay out the five-year plan for a complete re-design of mental health services for children and young people. In a recent interview with BBC, Lamb said they have “a once in a generation opportunity… [and that] now we have the money to make it possible, it’s an exciting moment.”

The task force report is recommending a host of measures, including:

A comprehensive set of waiting-time targets for services

  • The launch of a hard-hitting anti-stigma campaign
  • One-stop shop services in the community to direct young people to places that can help
  • Continued support throughout teenage years and into the early 20s to avoid the “cliff-edge of lost support” at 18
  • Greater use of online tools and apps to encourage self-help
  • Improved care as close to home as possible for children and young people in crisis
  • Extra training for GPs and other who work with children, such as staff in schools

Download the full Future in Mind report.

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