The Crisis In Children’s Mental Health Cannot Be Resolved With Warm Words

According to the Children’s Commissioner, there are 800,000 children living with mental health disorders – that’s the equivalent of at least three children in every classroom.

Demand for mental health support has reached unprecedented levels, and yet three in four children with a diagnosable mental health condition still do not receive the support they need.

For years, teachers and families have been left floundering, unclear as to how best to spot and tackle mental health problems among the children in their care. Many have struggled to get any help when a child is in difficulty until they reach crisis point.

And even then, a quarter of children referred to CAMHS by concerned parents, teachers and GPs are turned away by underfunded and overstretched services.

In words of the Centre for Mental Health, young people have often found help “too remote, too clinical and too stigmatising.”

Tackling this abysmal situation is at the heart of the Government’s ambitiously titled ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ Green Paper.

The Government rightly recognises the crucial role schools and teachers play in supporting children’s mental health. Schools can protect and promote a child’s emotional wellbeing with lifelong benefits.

For months then this joint venture between the Department of Health and Department of Education was hyped up as central to Theresa May’s promise to tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of mental health.

Sadly, though, the only injustice she’s highlighted has been her Government’s scandalous failure to provide an ambitious, fully funded solution to the mental health crisis.

The Green Paper was filled with fancy rhetoric, but lacked the meaningful action our children deserve.

Should we be surprised? The sad reality is that Theresa May’s Tories are aiming for just 35% of children with diagnosable mental health conditions to receive treatment by 2020/21. That still leaves 65% with unmet needs- an appalling reality.

The PM’s lacklustre effort is evident in the flagship announcement of the Green Paper – the creation of new Mental Health Support Teams. Supervised by clinical staff, these newly trained professionals will provide specific extra capacity for early intervention and ongoing help.

On the surface this sounds promising. Providing additional support for those with mild to moderate needs is a critical step in promoting good mental health and wellbeing.

As ever, though, the devil is in the detail.

The Government is committed to rolling out these teams to just 25% of the country by the end of 2022/23- a whole five years away. What of the

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Entertainment

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