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Review of Children’s Mental Health Provision

29 Jan 2021|11:12

A report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has been published examining the issue of capacity within NHS children’s mental health. This is Anne Longfield’s fourth report since taking up her post and she reflects on the changes within that time. The report mostly covers the period to March 2020, though reference to COVID-19 and the future of CAMHS provision is discussed. She acknowledges that services have expanded though they are still nowhere meeting the level of need. As children’s education and social opportunities have suffered major disruption due to COVID a study estimates that 1 in 6 children now have a probable mental health condition (NHS study July 2020). The creation of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) providing integrated care across schools and the NHS is lauded as a positive development and more so in the light of the pandemic. She decries the lack of ambition in the plan to roll out NHS-led counselling within schools with the target of 25% of areas by 2023. She issues a plea for this target to be increased and that it should not be a further decade before children have a decent mental health service.