NHS mental health for children ‘shames our nation’

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The failings of NHS children’s mental health services “shames our nation”, a charity has claimed.

The NSPCC recently surveyed 1,256 professionals who deal with children on a regular basis. They included doctors, teachers, psychologists and social workers. An overwhelming majority of the respondents – 96 per cent – said there were not enough mental health services for children and adolescents who have experienced abuse.

One respondent claimed that such services “have become even more restrictive in their referral criteria” over the last five years. More than three quarters of those surveyed – 78 per cent – agreed that referring children to mental health services had become more difficult in that time.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said the fact that “children who have suffered abuse languish for months and even years without support” reflected badly upon the whole country.

Too many children have to “deal with the corrosive emotional and psychological consequences of appalling abuse” without adequate support from professionals, he added.

The results of the charity’s survey were published to mark the launch of the charity’s It’s Time campaign. This aims to convince the government to put more money and resources towards mental health services for young people.

A spokeswoman for NHS England insisted that they were doing “everything possible for the most vulnerable children who deserve to get the very best care as quickly and simply as possible”.

The government has promised to put £1.25 billion towards NHS services for children, which will “kick-start an upgrade in care”, she said.

Last year, children’s charity Young Minds told a committee of MPs that children in care were not receiving sufficient mental health treatment. This followed the NSPCC’s claim in October that as many as a fifth of British children do not receive such care, even after they have been referred by the NHS.

For more information on the It’s Time campaign click here.

Photo by torbakhopper via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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