Charity demands a better deal for children with mental health issues

Charity YoungMinds is calling on the government to create a better
environment for children’s mental health.

In its submission to the Children at Risk green paper team, the
mental health charity is insisting that “every child in need must
get a service”.

It says some children are failing to receive appropriate help
because they have “the wrong problem at the wrong age” or because
the only service available is not acceptable or accessible.

Access to mental health services could be made easier by offering
them through “acceptable” services such as primary health, the
voluntary sector or one-stop shops. Using health visitors and
schools as “access points” to specialist services could also help.
The charity recommends that professionals should go to the client
rather than the other way round, and appointments should be
discontinued for those who often miss them.

“Someone has to go wherever the young man is and, if acceptable,
start to build a relationship with him there, be it in the home, in
the youth club or under a bridge,” the charity says in its

Although confidentiality should be respected, information ought to
be shared between professionals as long as the client agrees and
there should be fewer assessments before a service is

The report highlights the recruitment and retention crisis among
staff working with children. Fewer people are applying for social
work training and staff are leaving after just a few years. It also
points to the problems of staff changing jobs more often, with a
consequent breakdown in relationships.

The green paper team was told that many offenders did not have
their mental health needs adequately met in childhood and that “if
mental health can be improved in children it is likely to have a
large impact on crime rates”.

The charity also points out that parents who abuse or neglect their
children often lack positive support networks and may themselves
have mental health problems that have not been properly

– Submission from

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