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Provide local mental health treatment for children

And we will reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so that children with serious conditions are seen within an appropriate timeframe and no child has to leave their local area and their family to receive normal treatment.

Our Verdict

This policy focuses on the second part of the manifesto quote – providing local mental health services for children. For the “appropriate timeframe” policy, see below.

In September 2018, 286,221 people aged under 19 were in contact with mental health services. At the same time, there are workforce shortages in mental health services for young people. This means some young people have to travel hundreds of miles to receive treatment far from their home, family and friends. The Children’s Commissioner estimates that in 2018, 1 in 7 children aged over 16 who were in care experienced multiple placement moves. The government has promised to reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so that no child has to leave their local area to receive normal treatment.

In June 2017, shortly after the general election, the National Health Service announced that 11 new sites would take part in a pilot to test new approaches to mental health intended to cut the number of patients travelling long distances for care.

In July 2018, the government published its response to a green paper consultation on children and young people’s mental health provision, revealing that it will roll out a new “trailblazer” pilot project using locally based Mental Health Support Teams.

The government and the NHS are testing new measures to reduce out-of-area treatment for children in need of mental health services, so this policy is ‘in progress’. It will be ‘done’ when the measures are rolled out nationally and there is evidence that children are no longer having to leave their local area to receive treatment. Follow this policy for updates.

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