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Children and young people’s mental health neglected by local authorities

‘Overlooked and Forgotten’ report reveals failure to address mental health needs of under-18s

The Children & Young People's Mental Health Coalition has revealed a concerning new finding that two in three joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) do not specifically address children and young people's mental health. Furthermore, data most commonly used to estimate the prevalence of mental health need is almost a decade old.

These are the findings of 'Overlooked and Forgotten', the Coalition's review of how children and young people's mental health is being prioritised in the current commissioning landscape. The report offers support and recommendations to health and wellbeing boards on how they can prioritise and address children and young people's mental health.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: 

"I welcome this publication by the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition as we know that 75% of adult mental health problems begin before age 18. I believe it is important that the Department of Health commissions a new survey of the prevalence of mental health problems in children and young people, to ensure they get the right support and treatment they need as early as possible."

Barbara Rayment, Chair of the Children & Young People's Mental Health Coalition, added:

"Local authorities have difficult decisions to make about how to allocate dwindling health budgets. While it is very welcome that two-thirds of JHWSs are prioritising children and young people's mental health, too many are not giving this the priority it needs in order to help them develop the resilience and self-esteem necessary for making healthy choices and to deal with the challenges they face.

"A recent study shows voluntary sector providers feel their data has been excluded from JSNAs, thus further excluding the issues that matter most to their local young people, therefore it is vital that the Coalition's evidence of good practice is shared. Reliable data must also be made available, as a basis from which the services that need to be funded as a priority can be identified."

Key findings of the review include:

The full report is free to download from this page and the executive summary from this page.

8/12/13