mental-healthSignificant extra funding for CAMHS and the introduction of an eating disorders access standard offer hope for those young people failed in the past.

In response to the recent NHS England announcement that it is funding the first stage of a new programme to improve children and young people’s mental health and well-being, and improving community based eating disorder services for children and young people, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ President, Professor Sir Simon Wessely said: “The Royal College of Psychiatrists welcomes NHS England’s announcement of a significant funding boost for children and young people’s mental health services. This funding represents a major step forward in improving care, coming as it does after years of both rising demand and cuts that have left services failing young people on a daily basis – as NHS England has, to its credit, acknowledged.”

“Around half of the cases of adult mental illness (excluding dementia) originate before the age of 14, and scaling up the ability of child and adolescent mental health services to deal with these problems early on has the potential to dramatically improve the clinical outcomes and quality of life of those affected, as well as reducing the impact that mental illness has on society more broadly – estimated to be £105 billion/year in England,” he added.

“In particular, the College welcomes the new eating disorders standard as a major and innovative step to deliver swift access to evidence based community treatment for children and young people with these conditions. This and other access and waiting times standards herald the beginning of a new era in mental health services, in which access to top-class, outcomes focused treatment for people with mental disorders is a reality.”

“The College recognizes that giving more of the same is no longer an option and with fresh investment and a new approach, local services can deliver real change with time. This eating disorders standard is part of a series intended to reshape the way mental health services are commissioned and delivered, improving services not only for children and young people, but reducing inequalities across the board and improving access to services that improves health outcomes for all who require care. However, the implementation of comprehensive standards for all of mental health by 2020 will require dedicated funding, and the College calls today on the Government to formally commit to providing this as part of the next Spending Review.”

It was also announced that child and adolescent mental health services will now be included within the new mental health dataset. This is another significant step forward, as it will enable services to benchmark their performance, driving improvement and allowing innovation to be evaluated on a robust basis.

Professor Wessely concluded: “The College is dedicated to working closely with the NHS to deliver the standards that will improve access to a mental health service that provides high-quality care and support where and when it is needed.”