By Madalina Dichiu
Care Minister, Norman Lamb announced that the health system must be “modernised” and a new online application will be developed to help young people with mental health issues.
Experts say that the current situation is a “national disgrace” and the Government should spend more money on children and young people, while also stressing the importance of contact with therapists.
The Scottish Government says that the best approach to change the system is to be able to measure the things that matter most to the people using them. They are also reviewing health visits and school nursing services to ensure staff have the right training to identify and help parents, children and young people with mental health problems.
The Government has already developed an online service to provide guidance and training on child mental health for teachers, police, health professionals and other people working with children called MindEd. The research shows that mental health services are not meeting the needs of some groups of people. Only one in six older people with depression ever discusses it with their GP.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, “For far too long mental health has been in the shadows and many people have suffered in silence as a result. It is time to turn a corner on outdated attitudes and bring mental health issues out into the open. It is time that the whole of society started providing the care and support to those with mental health conditions in the same way that they would to those with a physical condition.”
Sarah Brennan Chief Executive of YoungMinds charity said: “It is a national disgrace that while three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental illness, only 6% of the NHS mental health budget is spent on children and young people. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that if we get it right for children and young people we will greatly reduce the burden of mental health for future generations.
“YoungMinds has been warning for several years about the dangers in cutting children and young people’s mental health early intervention services. Over the last few months we have seen the consequences of these cuts with reports of children and young people with mental illnesses ending up in police cells, being transferred hundreds of miles away or placed on inappropriate adult wards because there haven’t been the beds available.
“Local services providing much needed mental health services should not have to operate in crisis-we have to get this right for children, young people and their families who are in desperate need of support.”
The NHS argues that many issues can be managed without the help of a GP by using the variety of sources now available, whether it’s through books, local organisations or online.
The charity Mind says: “Electronic media is increasingly being utilised as a medium to deliver psychological therapies. There are significant potential advantages to using this mode of delivery, including increased reach and improved access to psychological support and treatments.
“Some children and young people find interacting with electronic media a preferable first step to help and most are more used to such interaction than older generations.”
The Scottish Government published alarming statistics about mental health problems. Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition. Only a quarter of people with a common mental health problem get treatment, mostly in the form of medication.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 9.6% of children and young people between the ages of 5 and 16 years in the UK have a mental health problem.