A healthy State of mind: Improving young people’s mental fitness

This report argues for reform of the mental health system to provide greater support for the majority of young people who will not receive treatment from specialist CAMHS whilst ensuring that those in desperate need of clinical intervention receive immediate help | Localis

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The current mental health system is failing children and young people. Whilst in almost all areas of health and care reform the dominant trend is to encourage people to be more independent and resilient, in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), something has gone badly wrong.

There is a current tendency for many young people to not register on the radar when they try to deal with their problems. Instead of receiving sustained support for their mental health, they bounce around different tiers of services without sustained support. Even after being treated for severe mental health difficulties they often again fall off the radar until they reach another crisis. There needs to be a better focus on addressing the challenges that young people face in their mental wellbeing or, as we prefer, mental fitness, rather than solely concentrating on the presence of clinically diagnosable mental health disorders. Such a focus would provide agency for young people to – with the support of the wider community – better develop resilience before the involvement of specialist services whilst ensuring that those with severe mental health needs are provided with immediate specialist support.

Teenagers turned away by overstretched health services resort to drastic action to get help

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Funding cuts to mental health services have made thresholds for treatment so high that young people are risking their lives in desperate bids to get help, according to the Times Educational Supplement. The article goes on to say that stretched children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are driving growing numbers of pupils to make what look like suicide attempts just so they can have their mental illness treated.

A survey conducted by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner showed that, of all pupils referred to CAMHS in 2015 (the latest figures available), only 14 per cent were able to access the service immediately.

Meanwhile, 28 per cent of those referred were not allocated a service at all. In some areas, this figure was as high as 75 per cent.

Read the full article: Pupils risking their lives as mental health services collapse

New data shows work needed to hit eating disorder treatment standard

More than a third of children with urgent eating disorders are not beginning treatment within a week as required under a new standard, NHS England data has revealed | HSJ

  • New data shows two-thirds of children and young people with an urgent eating disorder had treatment within a week
  • NHS England data also shows nearly three-quarters of routine eating disorder referrals began treatment within four weeks
  • The data is the first published on children and young people’s eating disorders
  • NHS is expected to treat 95 per cent of urgent cases within a week and 95 per cent of routine cases within four weeks by 2020-21

Rad the full article here

Delivering mental health transformation

This report focuses on progress and challenges in improving children and young people’s mental health services in England, particularly for minority or vulnerable groups. | National Children’s Bureau (NCB)

This report is based on the views of 49 professionals working with children and young people, primarily from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) who responded to an online survey in autumn 2016.

NCB were funded by the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England to gather information from the sector on what needs to happen for the Government’s vision for improved mental health services to be realised for all children, particularly those who are vulnerable, have poorly understood needs, or who face particular challenges accessing the support they need. The information was primarily gathered via an online survey.

The report shares concerns raised by the sector about the system not meeting demand. This relates not just to waiting lists but the amount of time services are able to dedicate to each service user.

Full report: Delivering mental health transformation for all children Findings from engagement with the children and young people’s voluntary sector in Autumn 2016.

What can be done to tackle the youth mental health treatment gap?

Too few children and young people are getting the care they need. A new commission at Birmingham university aims to address the problem | The Guardian

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By 2020 one in three teenagers will have access to cancer treatment in England. Think about that: only one in three. There would be an outcry. It would be scandalous, horrifying, unacceptable.

It is not true, however. Unless you delete the word “cancer” and insert “mental health”, and then it is.

In medical terms, there is a treatment gap. The number of children and young people living with a diagnosable mental illness far exceeds the number who get any help. One in 10 children suffer a diagnosable mental illness, yet just one in four of them receive treatment. By 2020 the gap may close, a little, if plans in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health are realised, but only a little.

Read the full news story here

Reduction in adolescent depression after contact with mental health services

Neufeld, S. et al. The Lancet Psychiatry. Published online: 10 January 2017

Background: Evidence regarding the association between service contact and subsequent mental health in adolescents is scarce, and previous findings are mixed. We aimed to longitudinally assess the extent to which depressive symptoms in adolescents change after contact with mental health services.

Interpretation: Our findings show that contact with mental health services at age 14 years by adolescents with a mental disorder reduced the likelihood of depression by age 17 years. This finding supports the improvement of access to adolescent mental health services.

Read the full abstract here