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BPS responds to analysis and reports on the decline of children and young people’s mental health

05 February 2021

The BPS is calling for a radical overhaul of funding and services, in response to a number of reports analysing the decline in young people’s mental health.

We want to see greater emphasis on evidence-based preventative measures, reducing demand on primary and specialist services and dramatically scaling up the mental health workforce.

We are concerned that the workforce is not adequately staffed to support the huge increase in actual and predicted need.

The government needs to urgently address the challenges of the children and young people’s workforce but an expansion of the new Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) cannot do this alone. Neither are they equipped to deal with complex issues such as trauma or bereavement.  

Within the response we make a number of recommendations, including an initial rocket boost of funding to support children’s mental health and wellbeing, and a more radical approach which is to have sufficient numbers of applied psychologists, both clinical and educational, working more directly in schools and leading the MHSTs.

Dr Helen Griffiths, chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology’s Faculty  for Children, Young People, and their Families, said:

“We have seen over recent months a number of reports highlighting the decline of children and young people’s mental health, we know that the mental health challenges children and young people face are increasing and are escalating rapidly due to the pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of children are being left without the help they need and damage to children and young people’s mental health will last for years and we need urgent action.

We need to look at the situation differently and stop dealing with just the tip of the iceberg, we need a systemic approach with properly funded services, and a properly funded and resourced workforce which sees psychological health woven into every part of children’s lives.”

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