YP Letters: Sleepwalking into child mental health crisis

Is enough money being spent on mental health?
Is enough money being spent on mental health?
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From: Javed Khan, chief executive, Barnardo’s.

THE Government must tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of the deepening crisis facing children’s mental health.

Mental health is one of the major public health challenges of our time. In recent years we’ve seen growing awareness in Westminster and in the media, but now we need urgent action to match the rhetoric.

Research shows that one in 10 children aged between five and 16 has a diagnosable mental health condition – roughly three children in every classroom. Meanwhile, shockingly, three quarters of children with mental health problems cannot access the support they need, with many young people waiting 10 months for the start of treatment. Clearly we have a major problem, which the Prime Minister rightly described as a ‘burning injustice’ last January. But despite these troubling figures we seem to be sleepwalking our way into an ever-deepening crisis. It’s time for society to wake up and work together to ensure the next generation of children has better mental health than their parents. The Government’s Mental Health Green Paper is a unique opportunity to put this right, but the current proposals lack ambition, the timeframe is too long and the resources too low to achieve the step-change we need.