Mental health services cuts ‘affecting children’

Cuts in mental health services for children in England amount to a national crisis with tragic consequences, a charity has said.

More than half of councils have cut or frozen budgets for child and adolescent mental health, according to official figures obtained by Young Minds. Experts believe early care is better for patients and value for money. But budget reductions meant tough decisions were necessary, according to the Local Government Association.

Provision of mental health services for young people varies widely across England, with entry-level care largely funded by local authorities, which are trying to slash spending. Research has found young people who do not receive help in the early stages of their illness can suffer serious consequences, often needing time in hospital or remaining ill during adulthood.

Young Minds submitted a Freedom of Information request about funding of child and adolescent mental health services for 2014-15 and the previous four financial years. It had responses from 99 out of the 151 councils it contacted. More than half had made cuts over the last five years, while nine councils had kept funding at the same level.

Full story BBC News 20 June 2014