The charity Childline reports that the helpline has seen a 36% rise over four years in youngsters needing help for depression and other disorders. The report comes at the start of Children’s Mental Heath Week today, and highlights the shrinking support available to children and young people at a time when they need it most. As the bar for referring children into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is raised ever higher, more and more vulnerable children are being left to suffer without adequate support.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children, said the figures were deeply concerning.
Sarah Brennan, chief executive at the charity YoungMinds, agreed more support for young people was vital, saying “As a society we need to do far more to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. To start with, we urgently need to rebalance our education system…to prioritise well-being and not just exam results.”
In a short-sighted rush to make quick savings to the public purse, the Government is storing up long-term problems which are already beginning to be felt by individuals and families and soon inevitably by society and the exchequer too.
Avenues is proud to form part of a new cross-sector Early Help Partnership in Westminster, but there is no hiding from the fact that resources are scant and the problems are mounting.
The Avenues Youth Project has had all public funding cut, yet it is precisely these services that help to ease the pressures and anxieties of growing up, which the report and the commentators agree we need more of!