THE timeless adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ becomes even more relevant, and applicable, when set in the context of today’s report on children’s mental health services.
It comes after a study by the Children’s Commissioner warned that youngsters in need of low-level treatment face a “postcode lottery” of provision after real-terms spending fell a third.
Not only does this threaten to make a mockery of Theresa May’s promise, on the steps of 10 Downing Street, to prioritise spending on mental health as part of her commitment to tackle ‘burning injustices’ in society, but it is adding to the longer-term pressures facing the NHS.
For, without effective early intervention, the risk is that problems like anxiety, depression and eating disorders become more difficult to treat.
Coming on the back of several reports, and political interventions, which have been very critical about current funding levels for school pupils with special educational needs, another neglected issue, Ministers need to urgently look again at the provision of support for young people.
As Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield, who hails from Otley, points out, the NHS 10-Year Plan has made children’s mental health a top priority but it won’t succeed unless youngsters receive timely help.