The government should ensure 1,000 psychological therapists are trained over the next five years to cope with rising numbers of children with mental health problems.
That was one of the key conclusions of the three-year Children’s Society Good Childhood inquiry, which published its findings this week.
It said only a quarter of children who were seriously troubled or disturbed were receiving any specialist help, and one in 10 five- to 16-year-olds had clinically significant mental health problems.
The report claimed investment in therapists would “probably pay for itself”. It pointed out that a child with a conduct disorder costs the taxpayer £70,000 in crime, social care and remedial costs by the time they turn 28, compared with £7,000 for a child without such problems.
It also called for the mental health of children entering care or custody to be assessed as a matter of course.
The report was co-authored by economist Richard Layard, who inspired the government’s programme to expand talking therapies provision for adults from 2008-11.
Measures included training 3,600 more therapists.
The Good Childhood inquiry also called for an increase in the pay and status of all people working with children
It claimed the “aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults” was now the greatest threat to children, by causing acceptance of income inequality, high rates of family-break-up and commercial pressures towards premature sexualisation.
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