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Unemployed and unschooled young people with mental health (MH) issues face up to four-year delays before accessing services, said professor Paul Burstow, chair of Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
Speaking at the children and young people’s mental health (CYPMH) event in Manchester on Tuesday, he said that ‘prolonged economic inactivity has profound effects on young people’.
He said: ‘This population’s disaffection often results in their mental health issues and needs going unnoticed and unattended to.
‘There’s an overlap between functional decline, mental disorder and a risk of economical inactivity, which are often overlooked.’
MH issues in young people
Half of life-long mental health problems become emergent by the age of 15, rising to three quarters by the age of 18.
Yet, ‘we only spend seven pence in every hundred pounds on CYPMH’, said Professor Burstow.
He said: ‘We have a huge misallocation of priorities and resources. We need to move to a model that is more coaching and pro-active.’
In October 2017, a Care and Quality Commission (CQC) report revealed that MH services weren’t fit for children and young people across the country.
Also speaking at the event, Professor Paul French, clinical lead for Early Intervention in Psychosis services, said that people with psychosis can wait up to 18 months before getting the right treatment.
Psychosis, which is a type of mental health issues, costs the NHS £2bn each year. Yet only 65% of people with psychosis receive treatment.
Professor French said: ‘Around 70% of the delay for people with psychosis is typically held within secondary care services.
‘If everyone received early intervention it would save the NHS £44m each year.’
The speakers argued that early intervention could help tackle CYPMH issues.
Dr Sandeep Ranote, children and mental health services (CAMHS) lead, said that ‘prevention starts at a perinatal stage’.
She said: ‘Good education is a preventative intervention.
‘But transformation doesn’t happen overnight. We have to be realistic, have hope and come together to solve this.’
The recent Government’s green paper, whose proposals will start from 2019, aims to tackle CYPMH issues, by training mental health leads for schools and colleges, creating new workforce and reducing waiting times to four weeks.