Today the BBC have published an article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31914765 stating that the government will admit that mental health services for children and young people in England need a complete overhaul. Ministers are said to be proposing a five year plan to improve services but already that’s too little too late. CAMHS services go up to the age of 18, this means that all people aged 13-25 now have slipped through the net and will probably not get the help they need. Children and young people’s mental health services are a complete mess at the moment, suggesting a 5 year plan is a start but changes need to start happening now, not in 2020.
The BBC’s article lists some statistics on child mental health and the one that really struck me was that one in six 16-24 year olds has a common mental disorder. That’s a staggering number of young people but what’s more shocking is that this article implies that the 16-24 age bracket are a part of this ‘overhaul’ but the truth is that this will only improve mental health services to those under 18, the rest of those young people will be lost within the adult mental health services or simply not get the help that they need. Too often we cling on the words of these articles but I can already see flaws and dishonesty.
To tackle the problems ministers have come up with a list of measures, these include a comprehensive set of waiting time targets for services, the launch of an anti-stigma campaign, continued support into the early 20s, greater use of online tools and apps, care close to home and extra training for GPs and schools. This all sounds fantastic and could help change and save so many lives as long as these promises are stuck to. Saying and doing are two very different things. We have got ministers to listen, now the fight begins to get them to stick to their word.