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Children's Mental Health Services 'Not Good Enough'

Mental Health Care For Children In The UK Requires Improvements


Mental health care services aimed at children in the UK need significant improvements before they can be deemed adequate enough, according to a new report.

This is despite one in ten young people aged between five and 16 suffering from some form of mental disorder, data from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health shows. This could be anything from anxiety and depression to a behavioural disorder or psychosis.

The Health Select Committee has highlighted a series of issues within the current system, some of which are attributed to a lack of funding and management, as well as not enough available beds in specialist facilities where mentally ill children could be cared for.

Figures show that some 263 under-16s were detained in police cells under the Mental Health Act between 2012 and 2013, which is currently legal, but arguably not the best practice to undertake for young patients' wellbeing.

In light of this revelation, the committee is calling on the Department of Health to eradicate this law, stating that it would be "unthinkable" for children suffering from a physical illness to be detained in a cell, so the same rule should apply to young mental health patients as well.

Furthermore, in some cases, when available beds are located for children with such problems, they can be hundreds of miles away from their homes and families, potentially causing them additional distress.

Speaking to BBC News, care and support minister Norman Lamb commented: "I am determined to make sure young people get the mental health care they need.

"We've invested £7 million in new beds, I've launched a taskforce to improve services and we are introducing a new waiting time standard to make sure young people with psychosis get prompt treatment."

However, improvements are still needed before the Health Select Committee will be fully satisfied with children's mental health care services in the country.

We can help you to claim compensation for clinical negligence if a serious injury or fatality has occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and care. See our Mental Health Negligence Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The lack of help and support available for young people suffering from mental health issues in the UK highlighted by this report is alarming and it is imperative that action is taken to consider new approaches to the way help and support is provided for children in order to improve the services available to them.

"In our work with children who have suffered abuse or neglect we have seen the significant impact delays in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness can have on young people, as well as their family and friends. Reducing waiting times for treatment, improving management of mental health services and increasing investment will help to improve the services offered to children suffering mental health issues.”
Tracey Storey, Partner

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