Police in England and Wales detained 202 vulnerable under-18s under the Mental Health Act, some for more than two days, despite widespread condemnation of the practice. Hampshire police held a 17-year-old girl for 63 hours and 40 minutes, while Nottinghamshire police held a 16-year-old girl for 52 hours.
Responding to the figures, Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: “It is quite unacceptable that anyone suffering from a mental health condition, especially a young person, should treated as a criminal.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has been criticized after it was revealed £50 million was cut from the children’s mental health budget – more than 6 percent in real terms – since 2010 when the Conservative-led coalition came to power.
According to government figures, the coalition spent £717 million on mental health from 2012 to 2013, compared to £766 million spent under the Labour government from 2009 to 2010.
Children and young people’s mental health services are too few, too poor and too stressed, causing untold suffering to children and their families. There are government inquiries, reviews and a new taskforce under way to address the issues, but what would services look like if they were working well?
Young people’s mental health services would be embedded in the heart of communities. This doesn’t mean ivory towers with big signs on the front of the building saying “mental health services” (we know how mental health stigma builds walls for young people who need help), but places that are young people-friendly, informal and welcoming.