Children’s mental health funding being lost

family law

Funds allocated to mental health care for children are not being used by front-line services, a think tank has claimed.

Both the current government and the previous coalition promised £1.4 billion to improve children’s access to mental health treatment by 2020. However, a report from international research organisation the Education Policy Institute suggests that only £75 million has made it to the groups and organisations which provide such care.

The report was published by the Institute’s Independent Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health. They claimed that a lot of the money has gone to other areas of the NHS which have had their funds cut. As a result, almost a quarter of children who need help – 23 per cent – are still turned away.

Even with extra funds provided by the current government, “something has to go drastically wrong before some services will intervene” the report read.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb was chairman of the Commission while the report was being researched. He was also the coalition government’s Health Minister in 2015 when they initially pledged to increase funding for children’s mental health services.

Lamb said that in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May had “rightly highlighted the inadequacies of the country’s mental health provision as a ‘burning injustice’”. He called on the government to “meet this commitment” and “take urgent action to ensure children and young people with mental health problems receive the care they need”.

Writing in the Huffington Post, the Education Policy Institute’s Director of Mental Health, Emily Frith, said the government should “withhold funding for those areas who cannot demonstrate that they have robust plans to improve services”.

Back in January, NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said the current state of mental health care available for children “shames our nation”. He criticised the fact that young people often “languish for months and even years without support”.

Photo of Norman Lamb MP courtesy of NHS Confederation via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author

Leave a comment