Children's Mental Health Services at Breaking Point Say Experts
By: CHAMPS Academy
Children's mental health services are at breaking point, with unprecedented numbers of young people failing to get access to the services they need, according to experts. And they say, some children with suicidal thoughts aren't getting access to the help they need.
Today, as part of Children's Mental Health Week (4 - 10 Feb ), one organisation is launching a campaign to discover why children's mental health services continue to fail vulnerable children, despite massive injections of Government cash.
Vulnerable children are slipping through the net
CHAMPS Academy has been helping children and teenagers with issues like anxiety, self-harming, OCD, depressive thoughts and eating disorders for nearly 20 years. But the Co-Founder Annette Du Bois, says Children's mental health services in England are at breaking point, resulting in some fragile young people, receiving no support - and it's private organisations like CHAMPS, that are stepping in to help.
75% of parents say their children's mental health deteriorated while waiting for NHS support Source: YoungMinds
CHAMPS has seen an unprecedented rise in demand for their private services from desperate parents of children, who've been waiting up to a year for NHS treatment or denied access to NHS services, despite being referred.
Annette Du Bois said: 'Parents are often crying out for help. Like the mother of a 14-year-old girl from West Sussex, whose daughter was depressed. She kept saying she hated herself and had even said she wanted to die. But when she went to the GP she was told that she couldn't be referred to CAMHS because there was nothing 'physical" like self-harming."
"When her mum contacted CHAMPS Academy she didn't know what to do to help her daughter. And although the investment in the coaching was a stretch, she was willing to pay because her daughter was at crisis point."
Where's the money, Mrs May?
Figures show that the incidence of teen suicide is on the increase, and CHAMPS is concerned that Government money isn't reaching those who are most in need, despite a promise to 'transform' children's mental health services with an injection of £2.8bn of investment.
Annette Du Bois said: "In 2015 the Government pledged £1.4bn over a 5-year period towards children's mental health services and support. Yet in the last few years there has seen a massive decline in the services and support offered, CAMHS are massively over-subscribed and failing, and there's been a devastatingly sharp increase in death by suicide in teens due to stress, anxiety and the inability to cope with the pressures of life. The latest Government pledge matches the original £1.4bn apparently for 'transforming' the service and say it's so that 70,000 more children a year have access to specialist mental health care by 2020-21. That's too long to wait - and I still fail to see exactly where the original money has been spent."
Children's charities ignored by the Government
Last October CHAMPS joined 120 heads of charities and organisations dedicated to the care and support of young people who wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, asking the Government to put an end to damaging cuts to services, and to commit to putting young people at the centre of spending plans.
Signatories, including big names like The Children's Society, Child Poverty Action Group and The Childhood Trust, agree that there has been a marked decline in services for children, with a record number being taken into care every day, and less than a third of children and young people with a diagnosable mental health problem getting access to NHS care within a year.
However, nearly 4 months on, they are still waiting for a reply from Downing Street.
Annette said: "I'm appalled. What we are seeing is the needless suffering, and in some cases, the death of some of the country's most vulnerable children. CHAMPS Academy will continue to do all that it can to help as many young people as it can. But the Government must recognise that the so called 'transformation' they keep promising is not materialising, and despite massive investment, there is a generation of children with mental health issues who have been abandoned by the system, and left to cope alone, because of a systematic failure in funding."
 CAMHS Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services https://www.nhs.uk/
Annette Du Bois