Commenting on the 2021 survey results of the mental health of children and young people in England by NHS Digital Sean Duggan chief executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, said:
“The mental ill-health of many of our children and young people is now at unprecedented levels and must be urgently addressed as these latest survey results show.
“The harsh reality of unmet need means that too many children and young people are reaching crisis point before they can access the support they so desperately require.
“Despite working hard to find innovative ways to address the significant increase in demand, mental health services are creaking under this enormous strain which has been made much worse by the pandemic. Treatment gaps and waiting times for access are leading to poorer outcomes for children and young people and the knock-on effect means a much higher risk of serious mental health issues lasting into adulthood.
“While health leaders have welcomed initial investment allocated by Government for mental health services, the continued toll of the pandemic mean that it falls far short of what is required and the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review is an opportunity for the Government to show its commitment to supporting the mental health of our children and young people.
“As both our Health Leaders Panel survey, part of the NHS Confederation’s Manifesto for Recovery report, and our Reaching the tipping point report have highlighted, this increase is also putting pressure on the wider system with 89% of health leaders predicting significant increase in demand for children and young people’s services in the short and medium term.
“Improving early intervention, for example through a network of youth hubs, as well as in schools and through better access to digital services where appropriate, will help boost capacity and will give children and young people wider provision before they reach a crisis."