Children’s Commissioner report highlights lack of progress over children’s mental health

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the report by the Children’s Commissioner showing the number of children and young people on waiting lists for mental health support after being referred to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services.
“There are two things that are shocking. The first is that seven years after the government launched plans to pilot four-week waiting times to NHS services for children and young people as part of a green paper to ‘transform’ mental health provision, that has clearly not resulted in the impact that we hoped to see. The second is that so many young people require mental health support in the first place. This appears to be attributable to a cocktail of problems – very high levels of child poverty, toxic content on social media platforms, the sheer weight of high-stakes exams that have resulted from government reforms, and a special educational needs system which is underfunded and under pressure.
“We have to get better both at providing access to specialist services needed by children and young people who are suffering from mental health problems, and dealing with the root causes of those mental health problems. At the moment, we are, as a society, too often failing to fulfil our responsibility to protect and support the next generation.”