We must show the children we're listening

Steve Crocker says the system for supporting children and young people with mental health concerns is not working and that it’s time for a national review, alongside a national strategy to tackle child and family poverty.

Alarm bells have been sounding on growing mental health concerns among children and young people for some time and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

One in six children aged 5-16 has a probable mental health disorder, up from one in nine in 2017. Accessing the right support early can make a huge difference, yet too many children are waiting months for an assessment and more than a year for treatment. The current system is not working for children and needs change, with the knock on effects of the failure threatening to overwhelm the children's social care system. Local authorities are doing all they can to respond to the situation, including by stepping in when children cannot access the support they need, but this comes at a cost.

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