The Health Select Committee recently warned that current child and adolescent mental health services are seriously and deeply ingrained with problems. Despite the fact that the Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb has pledged to improve these services, at the moment areas all across England are still facing cuts however.
According to official figures from the charity, Young Minds, more than half of councils around the country have had to cut or freeze budgets from child and adolescent mental health. Exasperated, the charity highlighted how this could have tragic consequences because early care is not only better for patients and their recovery, but it also offers better value for money.
Research has confirmed that those who do not receive help in the early stages of their illness can suffer serious consequences which often results in more time spent in hospitals or remaining ill throughout adulthood.
In fact, it has been found that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of just 14. Worryingly, if left untreated, some sufferers go on to develop more severe and difficult to treat illnesses.
Young Minds recently submitted a Freedom of Information request in order to find out the true extent to which councils have reduced their mental health care budgets. Out of 99 councils who responded, it was found that more than half have made cuts over the last five years.
The Chief Executive of Young Minds stated that the findings are deeply distressing:
“Children and young people’s mental health services have been chronically underfunded for decades. The latest round of cuts will add to the devastation of local services and compound the struggles of young children and their families.”