“Councils have proved how critical they are in providing services during COVID-19, working closely with schools and other partners to provide support to children and young people, but have had to divert all their early intervention spending into more acute services due to overstretched budgets."
Responding to a report by Health Education England which shows that the mental health workforce supporting children and young people in England has seen a 39 per cent increase in whole time equivalent staff since 2018, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“This report suggests that councils’ children and young people mental health workforce has fallen by 44 per cent, which is extremely concerning at a time when the number of people aged under 18 referred to mental health services soared by more than 130 per cent between April and June alone this year.
“Councils have proved how critical they are in providing services during COVID-19, working closely with schools and other partners to provide support to children and young people, but have had to divert all their early intervention spending into more acute services due to overstretched budgets.
“Local authorities need properly resourcing to take a lead role in mental health to help government build back better, particularly as mental health specialists are one of the biggest recruitment challenges for councils. This means being treated as more of an equal partner to the NHS in improving mental health and getting enough funding to help people in need of support in their communities.
“With the annual cost of mental health problems in England estimated to be £119 billion, local government mental health services need sufficient funding to meet current, unmet and new demand for mental health support, including preventative mental wellbeing work that can stop the escalation of mental health needs so that more costly NHS treatment is avoided.”
Notes to Editors
- More than 190,000 patients under the age of 18 were referred to children and young people's mental health services between April and June this year - up 134 per cent on the same period last year, according to analysis of official figures by the Royal College of Psychiatrists