LEGAL EAGLE: Young people not getting help with mental health issues

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Figures reveal that almost a quarter of children and young people are turned away from mental health services.

Whilst cuts to mental health services have received their fair share of attention in recent months, little consideration has been given to how mental health problems affect children and young people up and down the country.

Until now little data has been available regarding how many young people are affected.

However over the last five years it is acknowledged that there has been a significant rise in the number of people under 18 suffering from mental health problems.

The current figure is estimated to be one in every 10 young people.

Centre Forum have this week published the result of their study which has revealed the shocking truth about the problems faced by young people suffering with mental health problems and give an insight into why so little information has previously been available.

It has been revealed that almost a quarter (23%) of young people referred to mental health services are turned away and as a result receive none of the urgent help and support they need.

There is growing concern that the lack of appropriate support available to young people has contributed to the rise in the number of young people turning to self-harm and suicide.

Figures show that suicide accounts for 14% of deaths in boys and 9% of girls aged between five and nineteen years old.

These are figures which only add to the shock and concern which has been caused by the data published by Centre Forum.

Those young people fortunate enough to be accepted by services are then faced with a wait, reported by this consultation, to be up to 10 months.

The wait time for a young person in the Gateshead area has been revealed to be five times longer than those in Tyneside are required to wait. However, the North receives the higher share of funding for children and young people when compared to the South.

It is worth noting that there remains a huge disparity in the overall funding afforded to child and adolescent mental health services which receive only around 0.7% of the overall NHS budget.

The Government has pledged £1.4 billion over the next five years to establish new systems and therapies for young people to help tackle a problem which has reached crisis point. However, it is also expected that plans to continue hospital and ward closures in the region will continue.

l Paul Harbison is a Solicitor in the firm’s specialist mental health team which is the largest dedicated mental health team in the North East. All the firm’s solicitors are accredited as specialists in mental health law by the Law Society and have a wealth of experience advising and representing both adults and children who are being treated under the Mental Health Act either in hospital or in the community.

Contact David Gray Solicitors LLP via their website or call 0191 232 9547.