Andrew Gwynne MP has today backed Labour’s approach to solving the problems around mental health issues in young people.

Three out of four children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not receive the support they need and just 0.7% of the NHS budget going on children’s mental health. And on average, children and young people visit their GP three times before they get a referral for a specialist assessment and have to wait more than six months for treatment to start.

A report from the Children’s Society painted a bleak picture of the current approach to mental health care. More than 100,000 children aged 14 in the UK are self-harming, with one in four girls of this age having deliberately hurt themselves according to a report from the Children’s Society The charity estimated that 110,000 children aged 14 may be self-harming, including 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.

Labour’s Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, presented a plan for radical change in how young people’s mental health is approached.

Labour will:

  1. Prevent any further raiding of mental health budgets by ring-fencing NHS mental health by requiring mental health budgets to be spent on mental health services
  2. Increase the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
  3. Ensure every secondary school in England is able to offer a school-based counselling service to its pupils.
  4. Enforce the ban on children being treated on adult mental health wards.
  5. Eliminate inappropriate out of area placements by the end of 2019.

Andrew Gwynne said:

“Our young people are being failed by this Government. The Tories are failing to make mental health an equal priority to physical health and this is most apparent in children and young people’s mental health.

“Their proposed measures do not amount to meaningful immediate action. Many of the measures are only pilots and the Government has admitted that many new forms of support will not be available until an unspecified time in the 2020s

“Only under a Labour government would the necessary radical change in agenda be set. We’re proposing a vital set of changes which we’ll continue to campaign for – to deliver mental services for the many.”

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