Early access to mental health support

Children’s Commissioner, April 2019

This report looks at the amount spent on “low-level” mental health support for children in England. “Low-level” mental health services are preventative and early intervention services for treating problems like anxiety and depression or eating disorders, such as support provided by school nurses or counsellors, drop-in centres or online counselling services.  The report reveals that local areas, which included both local authorities and NHS spending, were allocated a total of £226 million for low-level mental health services in 2018/19, just over £14 per child.  The report also found large variations between geographical areas in the funding available, and where spending on services has fallen locally it has been driven by reduced spending by local authorities.

Click here to view the full report.

Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, And Allied Disciplines – November 2018

The November issue of Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, And Allied Disciplines has been published.  This issue includes a systematic review of anxiety associated with negative interpretations of ambiguity in children and adolescents, an article on development of autistic social traits across childhood and adolescence in males and females, and a randomized waitlist‐controlled trial of cognitive behavior therapy to improve emotion regulation in children with autism.

Click here to view the table of contents.

Click here to request an article from the Library.

Improving children and young people’s mental health services

National Audit Office, October 2018

This report forms part of The National Audit Office’s wider programme of work on mental health, following their 2016 report Mental health services: preparations for access and our 2017 report Mental health in prisons. It examines whether the government is on track to meet its ambitions for children and young people’s services, taking Future in Mind as the starting point.  It has a focus in particular on how the government decided to implement Future in Mind; whether it is on track to deliver improved mental health services to young people; and accountability for spending and outcomes.  It finds the government has not yet set out or costed what it must do to realise these aspirations in full and there remains limited visibility of activity and spending outside the health sector. While the NHS has worked to improve information on its activity and spending, significant data weaknesses are hampering its understanding of progress. Slow progress on workforce expansion to deliver NHS services is also emerging as a major risk to delivery.  It calls for the government to ensure a coherent and coordinated cross-sector response, and that the right levers are in place to ensure local actions deliver the national ambitions. It has started to tackle issues of parity of esteem between physical and mental health services for children and young people, but it still has a long way to go, particularly as demand may be higher than originally thought, and an increased focus on mental health may uncover greater demand. Given these weaknesses and uncertainties, we conclude that the government cannot demonstrate that it has yet delivered value for money.

Click here to view the full report.

Access to children and young people’s mental health services: 2018

Education Policy Institute, October 2018

Report from the the Education Policy Institute considering the  state of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in England.  It finds:

  • Referrals to child and adolescent mental health services have risen significantly in recent years.
  • Some areas have lost early intervention services supporting children and young people’s emotional and mental health and wellbeing, including those for children that receive statutory support.
  • Timely and high-quality specialist care will always be necessary, and more needs to be done to ensure it is in place across the country.
  • There needs to be a focus on taking demand out of the system.

Click here to view the full report.