There should be a specialist mental health worker in all youth
offending teams, according to research from the Mental Health
Foundation, writes Clare Jerrom.
Service provision should be locally based in order to provide a
swifter response to diagnosis and treatment, the report adds. It
claims that young offenders are at least three times as likely to
have mental health problems than the general population.
Yet despite this, there are currently no widely used screening
instruments for detecting mental health problems within the youth
justice system in England.
“Overall (with some exceptions of course), the mental health
needs of young offenders are clearly not being met by existing
services,” the report says.
The whole field of mental health needs of young offenders poses
significant challenges, including confusion over which agency
should provide services, lack of staff training, inadequate
screening and assessment and lack of research.
The charity urges the government to commission a comprehensive
review of CAMH services with the aim of developing a national
multi-disciplinary, multi-agency service.
A summary of the ‘Mental Health of Young Offenders
Bright Futures: Working with Vulnerable Young People’ can be