Austin Macauley 17 November 2014
UK ‘sleepwalking’ towards crisis in children’s mental health, warns charity
Children’s mental health has got worse over the last year or ‘remained persistently bleak’, according to 90% of frontline professionals.
Research by Action for Children also found almost a quarter of its staff believe more young people are self-harming and are in need of greater support.
More than half of the charity’s services reported a rise in depression among parents during the last 12 months.
Action for Children chief executive, Sir Tony Hawkhead, said: ‘As a society, we are sleepwalking towards a precipice when it comes to child mental health and the time to wake up is now.
‘Emotional wellbeing is fundamental to every stage in a child’s life – from starting school to entering adulthood – and services must devote everything they can to ensuring families receive support early, to avoid crisis.’
The charity’s research drew in the views of staff across 650 services that support around 300,000 children.
He added: ‘The Government has recently recognised that more attention needs to be paid to children’s mental health, but has yet to present any detailed plan to tackle the issue. It doesn’t have to cost more.
‘We are calling on the Government to move more existing funding to early help. It is not about significant increases, but smarter spending.’