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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 15-Aug-19 14:34:05

Guest Post: “A landmark moment in children’s mental health”

A new report shows that the NHS are tackling the real problem of young people’s mental ill health - and finding some success.

Claire Murdoch

Mental Health Lead NHS

Posted on: Thu 15-Aug-19 14:34:04


Lead photo

“Five years ago, only one in four young people in need was accessing the right care; today it’s more than one in three”

We have just reached a landmark moment in children’s mental health.

Amidst the high-octane domestic and international affairs dominating the news agenda, a new but largely overlooked report shows that a record high number of young people are getting the right care for their mental disorder, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

An extra 53,000 children, teenagers and young adults were supported by NHS funded care last year, an increase of 14% on the year before. This number represents not only tens of thousands more families who are having the weight of mental ill health released from their shoulders, but a clear confirmation that the health service is turning the tide on young people’s wellbeing.

No issue could be more fundamental to our society than giving children the best start in life but, for generations, not enough attention has been paid to a child’s state of mind, their emotional wellbeing, or their mental resilience. In failing to acknowledge and respond to this problem, society has not only contributed to significant unmet demand in our young people, but also allowed millions to grow up with conditions that persist into adulthood. It is only recently that our country has put mental health - and children’s wellbeing in particular - where it belongs: at the top of our collective to-do list.

The NHS has rightly been at the forefront of that shift. Supported by our partners in the voluntary sector and in local communities, there has been significant investment into treatment, early intervention, and innovation in care. Five years ago, only one in four young people in need was accessing the right care; today it’s more than one in three, and recent data showed a three-year increase of 23% in staff working in children and young people’s mental health services, with after-hours support available throughout 90% of the country.

The health service is turning the tide on young people's wellbeing

Although these numbers show the NHS is delivering on its stated commitments, we have long been clear that one in three is not enough. As a mental health nurse and a mum of two adult children, I know that getting help at the right time is life-changing - not just for young people but also for their families who no longer have to live with the anxiety and practical stresses that accompany conditions like eating disorders, depression and psychosis. While this is a moment to acknowledge significant progress, we must also respect the distance we still have to travel, and through our Long Term Plan we are committed to providing specialist care for every child - and family - that needs it.

Extra funding worth more than £2 billion will go into mental health services every year, with investment in children and young people’s mental health services growing faster than both the overall health service budget and total mental health spending, allowing our heroic NHS workforce to help an extra 345,000 children and young people each year. We’re also expanding to provide care to an additional 54,000 new parents whose earliest days with their child can be marred by perinatal mental ill health which impacts both the mum and her child. Furthermore, within the next few years all children will benefit from 24/7 crisis care close to home, and more than 100 Mental Health Support Teams across England will be able to offer targeted care in their own community.

We’re doing this against the most challenging backdrop. As public service budgets have continued to strain, intense pressure on young people’s wellbeing has risen, from a host of new and emerging sources like the daily bombardment of body shaming on social media. Harmful content online can warp minds, and parents are increasingly and understandably unsure about how to help their children navigate the complexity of growing up in 2019. These pressures are reflected in the fact that referrals for NHS care have gone up by more than two-thirds in the past five years, with a 15% rise in the past year alone.

All this serves to show that - often under the radar of the daily news agenda - the NHS is saving and changing lives thanks to better mental health services. Contrary to some of the coverage, last month’s data show that we are delivering on our promises to families - not only meeting and exceeding the ambitious but realistic targets we’ve set ourselves but, in doing so, giving tens of thousands of children the chance of making the most of their potential and living the healthiest and happiest life possible.

By Claire Murdoch

Twitter: @NHSEngland

PickAChew Thu 15-Aug-19 17:08:43

More than one in three is nothing to crow about. It means that two in three are still missing out.

SuperFurryDoggy Thu 15-Aug-19 17:21:28

I’m glad things are moving in the right direction. Sadly my DD is one of the two in three who have yet to benefit though sad

CoughSplutter Thu 15-Aug-19 17:28:38

If you read the post, that is acknowledged @PickAChew.

Haggisfish Thu 15-Aug-19 17:34:42

I have not seen evidence of this as a secondary teacher.

Toddlerteaplease Thu 15-Aug-19 18:06:29

Not seen any evidence of this as a paediatric nurse. Children and teenagers already known to CAMHS coming repeatedly, and making serious suicide attempts.

MoodLighting Thu 15-Aug-19 20:04:03

Sorry, what? You quote your own abysmal failure that almost 2 in 3 children are not getting the right support and you try to spin it as a "landmark moment in children's mental health"? This post reads like a spoof.

DurhamDurham Thu 15-Aug-19 21:33:13

Just goes to prove you can spin stats and figures any which way you like. Two in three of our children do not get the help and support they need at the right time.

ItsOnAmericasTorturedBrow Thu 15-Aug-19 22:00:17

Thanks for the Tory Political Party broadcast. This is simply not true. I'm a health professional and children in my area are not seen AT ALL by mental health services unless they are "at risk" ie suicidal. If they are deemed at risk they still have to wait 18 months for CAMHS.

FarFrom Thu 15-Aug-19 22:12:35

'This is the number of children and young people, regardless of when their referral started, receiving at least two contacts (including indirect contacts), with the second contact falling in 2018-19'

Just to be clear this could mean children and adolescents who are seen only once for an initial assessment, who are then not offered treatment and discharged, disengage or are put on another long waiting list for treatment.

It would be good to see how many are actually offered treatment.

It's good to see any improvement, but these two points of contact measurements, also being used as a proxy for treatment, are completely disingenuous.

Flangango Thu 15-Aug-19 23:29:31

One of my children was self harming, but as it wasn't severe they refused any help as it was normal teen behaviour. Two of my children received help, as they were younger and it's not so "normal" for ten, eleven year olds. The service itself was in a lovely setting years ago...two moves later it's in a absolute hole down a dodgy side street where drug deals are done in a car park opposite. Yeah. Okay. Progress 🙄

IfOnlyOurEyesSawSouls Fri 16-Aug-19 00:13:48

Who on earth wrote this nonsense??

I am a mental health nurse. I nurse teenagers.

The mental health of our children is the worst i have known it in 20 years.

The resources available to support them is the worst it has ever been.

Many of children & young people are carrying significant trauma every day and we as a society are doing so little about it.

thoroclock Fri 16-Aug-19 00:47:17

This is utter lies, how can MN allow this propaganda?
All I hear from the various parents I know that have children with varying degrees of mental health problems and from reading the many support groups I am on, is that children's and young adults mental health services are at their worst in this country. I have heard many heartbreaking stories of parents desperate to access help but continually passed from pillar to post, with no actual real help but lots of box ticking achieved to help figures.
This post is an insult to every parent, child and young adult struggling to deal with mental health in this country.

pastaparadise Fri 16-Aug-19 01:08:27

I used to work in camhs and still train professionals working there. Services are
a) still very underfunded compared to physical health
b) as pp have pointed out, 2 out of 3 not getting a service is poor
c) of the people that do get a service, i think that service is often poor. Professionals are often over loaded, under trained and underskilled to deal with the complexity of difficulties that yp have. Cost cutting means when senior more expensive staff leave they are being replaced by cheaper less experienced staff. When i worked there my case load was so high i could only see people every few weeks, even though the evidence base is based on trials where people are usually seen weekly. It wouldn't happen with meds -'evidence suggests you need this drug daily but we havent go enough to go round so you can only have it weekly'
d) government policies often seem to drive misery that camhs has to support e.g austerity, endless testing in schools etc.

Oblomov19 Fri 16-Aug-19 06:44:59

The 'spin' on this article is frightening. Fortunately most MN readers are savvy enough to know this is bullshit. Unfortunately a lot of the UK population may be swayed by this drivel.

I am a mum of 2 secondary boys. Camhs is so underfunded now it's frightening, it's getting worse and worse. Many of my sons friends have needed MH help and the help just hasn't been available.

Their mums have told me so (football team mums seem to be quite close and open about their boys which is nice) so this kind of article really annoys me.

CatalogueUniverse Fri 16-Aug-19 07:11:17

CAMHs have 18 month waiting lists. Clinical diagnosis is lumped in with mental health provision. Children don’t get referred until they need help, they spend 18 months deteriorating and then very little help/support is available. Crowing that 1 out of 3 children gets help is beyond belief. It should be pitched as horrifying failure.

soccerbabe Fri 16-Aug-19 07:19:55

there's no quick fix or magic wand CAMHS can wave for psychosis or eating disorders or depression, once a young person can actually access their services sad.

EvenFlo2 Fri 16-Aug-19 07:26:26

What a load of absolute nonsense; as an ex-CAMHS worker I can hand in heart state that mental health provision has never been worse in the UK than it is now. Spin spin spin.

Children are classed as having meaningful contact if a single telephone call is done. This is the work of managers who have minimal experience of what it is actually like to treat young people. And there are lots and lots of managers - my ex trust has more people on its exec board than ever. Professionals trying to challenge this way of thinking are told that they are not team players and are made to feel like they have the wrong attitude.

The state of CAMHS is a national disgrace due to underfunding and mismanagement.

Noeuf Fri 16-Aug-19 07:28:29

Why is this a guest post and what is the agenda?

Noeuf Fri 16-Aug-19 07:35:40

trampolinebouncer Fri 16-Aug-19 07:40:29

I have seen no impact of funding, we are on a two year wait list for our 7 year old. Tier two level services say they can't help he needs the next level who are full to the brim. Told to go to A&E to access quicker help, not an answer. The other day phoned the duty helpline to help in a crisis told they will ring back but next available call was Wednesday-5 days later!

I am sure some counties have used money to get through waiting lists - but the big counties were so far behind & poorly organised just money & headlines is not going to solve this crisis for our children who need help with mental health.

langkaw Fri 16-Aug-19 09:43:47

@FarFrom exactly that. I am a SENCO and I've noticed this year that my referrals are going through super quickly now and children are being seen for an initial assessment within 4 weeks. Brilliant yes? Except the referrals I have made for children in crisis who would have been offered intervention a year ago, have been told at their initial assessment to go and take up a sport instead/there's nothing wrong with them. They are rejecting children left right and centre who would have met the criteria previously.

FarFrom Fri 16-Aug-19 12:14:39

@langkaw yes. This is because there is a new target to get waiting lists down to 4 weeks (which would be truly amazing if meaningful and would require funding). So everyone is scrabbling to meet it as we have to- but only for initial contact. The government can then say that waiting lists in child and adolescent mental health are down. Great! Except its a complete nonsense. As then waiting lists for actual treatment are even more horrific, if children are even accepted. There are teams playing the game because we have to, but being vocal about how dishonest this is.

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