Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic the number of children and adolescent mental health referrals have hit a record high. A 2017 study showed one in five children who had a mental health disorder, had to wait for more than six months to get into contact with a mental health specialist. As a result of these rising problems, the NHS has boosted spending for young people’s mental health services by £40 million.
“This pandemic has hit our young people hard and while services have remained open throughout, we have seen an increase in the numbers of children and young people seeking help from the NHS for their mental health.”
“Children and young people’s mental health has been neglected for years and in the meantime, we know that the need is increasing. We were already struggling to meet demand before the pandemic, but the pandemic has absolutely resulted in increase in mental health disorders in children and young people.”
With the increased spending, the NHS will provide alternatives to admission and make sure extra support is provided to areas of the country with more challenges in their range of bed capacity. Alongside this there will be a new mental health supports team, coming into action April 2023. This will mean 400 teams will now be available to cover 35% of the country surpassing the NHS's previous target of 20-25%.
There has been an increased demand for the treatment of eating disorders, in sight of this the NHS has increased their access to the eating disorders service. Staff working with patients with eating disorders will be given specialist feeding training which will allow care to be provided to children and young people in a hospital setting where appropriate.
Investments are being made on launching an ‘Intensive Community Support Role’ which will help prevent children and young people being admitted to hospitals and helping with early discharge so children can receive care in their own homes.
Further training will also be provided to Associate Practitioner Psychologists so they can work closely with children who have complex mental health conditions, in both a home and hospital setting.
Find out more on the NHS England website www.england.nhs.uk/2021/06/funding-boost-for-young-peoples-mental-health-services/