Renewed urgency needed to tackle crisis in children’s mental health

Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from Child of the North and Centre for Young Lives, which states that the children's mental health system is blighted by chronic waiting lists and a postcode lottery of provision.
“This report shines a much-needed spotlight on the crisis in children’s mental health. It’s deeply frustrating that so many pupils still do not have access to mental health support teams, despite it being seven years since this initiative was set out in the government’s green paper on children’s mental health. The same green paper talked about trialling a four-week waiting time for access to NHS treatment for children requiring specialist support, but there are in fact still very long waiting lists in many areas, and this ambition is still nowhere near becoming reality.
“The problem of deteriorating mental health has been recognised for some time, and it’s shameful that so little progress has been made towards addressing it. This report lays out several practical steps that will help, and it’s now incumbent on the government to act urgently to ensure all children and young people get the support they need.”