We hear from children all the time who tell us they are having difficulties accessing mental health services, with referrals only made when a child is at crisis point. They also talk about the lack of information available for them online; a sign of a service not designed around user needs. We are continuing our work to drive transparency in terms of NHS spending and provision for children and advocate for children’s mental health to be a priority locally and nationally.
Our fourth annual report on the state of children’s mental health services in England. The analysis examines the progress that has been made over the past five years as well as looking at the impact the Covid crisis has had on children’s mental health.
The report finds that while there has been an expansion of children’s mental health services over the past four years, such was the poor starting point that services are still nowhere near meeting the needs of many hundreds of thousands of children. The Children’s Commissioner argues this is because of a lack of ambition in improving children’s mental health services, despite numerous Government announcements on children’s mental health.
When speaking with children to inform the 2020/21 business plan, feeling stressed emerged as a common theme among the challenges that children were facing. Part of the consultation for the business plan included asking 1,924 children in December 2019 what they worry about. Feeling stressed and/or sad was the most common choice, with 33% choosing this as one of their top three worries.
This report illustrates the findings of a data collection exercise to understand spending on low-level mental health services across England.