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Children in mental health hospitals is too high

Children in mental health hospitals is too high

Shockingly, the number of children in mental health hospitals is too high due to lack of support in schools and our communities.

Research for the Children’s Commissioner for England found that this lack of support means children are admitted to institutions for months, sometimes years.

The report found that children with learning disabilities or autism were being gravely let down by the system.

Melanie Lidstone-Land, specialist mental health lawyer at Swain & Co Solicitors comments on this:

“It cannot be ignored that this report comes to light following mental health awareness week! The lack of mental health services in our country is appalling and now it is letting down our children. Children with learning difficulties and autism very often have no place in mental health units and these admissions are not always appropriate. They are a symptom of a severely failing system and a dangerous lack of community support for these young people and their families.”

Worst of all, these children usually end up in hospitals that are far away from home, acutely displaced from their families with little or no support available to change that. It is a daunting and scary experience for them. And for their parents, it is a nightmare.

Once their children are admitted to mental health hospitals, parents often report a feeling that they lose control. They hear experiences from their children, and also the hospitals that are frightening and beyond their control to change. Sometimes these are negative, to the point that they hear their child has been forcibly restrained to administer medication. They can no longer be their child’s safe place and feel powerless to stop it.

Someone needs to be the voice for their child.

It is unacceptable that some of our most vulnerable children are being denied community care to prevent inappropriate admissions to secure hospitals.”

The NHS says it is committed to reducing the number of children with learning difficulties and autism in mental health hospitals. They want to reduce this by 35% by March 2020.

Melanie adds,

“The number of children in secure hospitals with learning difficulties or autism has more than doubled in 4 years.  It hasn’t decreased. The NHS needs to invest money into this area to ensure that community based care and support is available if inappropriate admissions to secure hospitals is to be reduced.”

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