The latest NHS data shows that the number of children and young people in England undergoing treatment or waiting for care to start reached 420,314 in February, the highest number since recording began in 2016.
Responding to today’s statement, Whitney Cranna-Jennings, Deputy Director for Welfare and Inclusion, EPI, said:
“Today’s data shows that the number of children and young people in need of specialized mental health services is the highest since recording began in 2016.
However, many children with severe mental health problems refuse special services. An EPI study found that before the pandemic, more than a quarter of young people who sought mental health care from children and adolescents were not admitted for treatment. There is a continuing urgent need for early intervention services that can be accessed by families everywhere.
Meanwhile, the government is trying to address long-standing shortcomings in the child welfare system and the special education support system.
While the emphasis on improving services that support vulnerable children is welcome, the government must also address the growing factors of child vulnerability, including growing poverty and the cost-of-living crisis. Evidence linking poverty to family conflicts, harm to children, special needs and disabilities, and mental illness is clear. Failure to do so will mean that the number of young people who need expensive and less effective late intervention services will only grow. ”
NUS Vice President for Higher Education Hillary Giebi-Ababia said:
“I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating mental health crisis for students and young people. From our study, we know that most students are burdened with anxiety, often feeling ignored by authorities and unsupported when it comes to meeting their needs. The government is letting down an entire generation.
“Students have campaigned for university social services to improve over the years, and although we have seen additional funding for institutions as a result of our efforts, there is still great progress that needs to be made. Universities are not separated from the general public. The commitment to full NHS funding is absolutely vital to ensure that waiting lists and costs for mental health services, medications, therapist letters and diagnostic tests cease to be a barrier for anyone. They must also urgently commit to providing early support centers that will not allow thousands to reach the point of crisis, and to eliminate competition pressures, financial barriers and discrimination from our education system so that these problems can be addressed at the root. ”
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