This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. The third annual one.
In 2015 Place2Be launched the first Children’s Mental Health Week to shine light on the rarely discussed subject.
This year Place2Be are highlighting the importance of ‘Being Ourselves’.
Treatment for children with mental health problems is sporadic and difficult to obtain. Children often find it very difficult to be themselves and feel confident in themselves without support.
Findings from a Care Quality Commission report in October 2017 found that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the UK are “complex” and “fragmented”, leaving many children with a poor experience of care.
Assistance from CAMHS is very difficult to access. The threshold to access help is getting higher and higher.
CAMHS are the NHS services that assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. Their support covers depression, problems with food, self-harm, abuse, violence or anger, bipolar, schizophrenia and anxiety. There are local NHS CAMHS services around the UK, with teams made up of nurses, therapists, psychologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals.
According to YoungMinds parents’ helpline, the average waiting time for a first appointment with CAMHS is six months, with a 10-month wait until the start of treatment.
We are concerned that the lack of resources currently available for children with mental health problems will result in more and more children being detained in psychiatric hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983 due to the delay in receiving treatment. If we do not tackle issues such as low self-esteem quickly, the severity can increase significantly and treatment then becomes more difficult.
YoungMinds has surveyed parents whose children have been in mental health hospitals. Only 43% felt that their child’s mental health has improved while in hospital, while 54% say that they have seen no improvement. A quarter think their child’s mental health has deteriorated a lot. This suggests to us that detention in hospital should be a matter of last resort. Treatment should always be provided to children in the least restrictive way possible.
The Duchess of Cambridge has recorded a personal message in support of Children’s Mental Health Week, supporting the message of being ourselves. The Duchess spoke to pupils, parents and teachers about the impact of the scheme which tries to spot potential problems early and give support in familiar surroundings. Low self-esteem affects more than eight in 10 of the pupils who get Place2Be's one-to-one help.
The Duchess said: "Some children will be facing tougher challenges than others, but I firmly believe that while we cannot change their circumstances, we can ensure that every child is given the best possible support to ensure they fulfil their true potential.
"This is best achieved when we, the adults in their lives, work together to give children the emotional strength they need to face their futures and thrive
"Whether we are school leaders, teachers, support staff or parents, we each have a role to play.
"When we are open and honest with each other about the challenges we face, we can work together to ensure the children in our care have the chance to become the best version of themselves."
We are in full agreement with the Duchess that substantial support is key to ensuring children obtain appropriate treatment and, in turn, fulfil their true potential.
Here at Swain & Co our specialist Mental Health Lawyers have represented many children detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended) and have assisted them to access the help they so desperately need in the community once discharged.
Swain & Co Solicitors work tirelessly to assist vulnerable people and ensure that their rights under the Mental Health Act are observed. If you, a family member or friend are experiencing problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act contact our team today on 023 92 483322.