Nearly one in four children and young people are being turned away after being referred to mental health services for help, new research from the think tank CentreForum has revealed. They further found waiting times have also increased massively in the past two years.
The report found that 23% of young people referred for help with mental illness were being turned away, while waiting times have more than doubled in the last two years, with times ranging from four weeks to two and a half years. Averaging these findings out, shows a waiting time for those who were accepted for help of 10 months
Commission Chair, Norman Lamb MP said: “This research confirms the true extent of problems in children and young people’s mental health services. Far too often our children are turned away from help or forced to wait for months for treatment. This goes against what we all know – intervening early can prevent a condition reaching crisis point. This is a scandal which has existed for too long. It is unacceptable. If we are to finally achieve equality between physical and mental health, as the government has argued for, these shortcomings must be addressed urgently
“The government must ensure the recommendations of Future in Mind are implemented in full. Every penny of the £1.25bn announced by the Coalition government for children’s mental health must be spent on improving care for these young people”.
Mental health was a major concern during the general election debates last year, with the Liberal Democrats pushing particularly hard for increased spending. Although not as concentrated in their proposals as the Lib Dems, the Conservative Party promised to increase funding to mental health services and ensure that counselling was available to women during pregnancy. However the results of this latest study suggest that the government is failing in its commitment to mental health services.
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