Ruth Cadbury MP has spoken in Parliament this week to mark Children’s Mental Health Week. In a speech on Tuesday Ruth spoke about the importance of early intervention in mental health treatment among young people, by ensuring that they could access specialist services directly in schools.
She relayed what local students and their teachers had told her about how the coronavirus has had an impact on young people’s mental health- with many losing close family members, or being unable to see friends or worried about their next exams. Ruth also mentioned the growing demand for acute mental health services; while praising the work of the Youth Counselling service in Hounslow, along with the work done by the Mental Health Ambassadors programme at Gunnersbury Catholic School.
Speaking afterwards Ruth said,
‘‘I know from listening to local residents that it’s so important that we do more to improve the mental health services available for young people. Even before the covid-19 pandemic mental health services were under a huge strain, with too many young people having to wait longer and longer for treatment. Since 2019 there has been a 77% rise in children needing treatment for severe mental health issues.
Locally, young people with severe mental ill-health are currently having to wait between 18 months and two years to get a first appointment with the local specialist mental health services (CAMHS). That’s why we need to see an urgent and ambitious program of action from the Government.
The Government should ensure that all schools have dedicated mental health professionals, while introducing mental health hubs to expand care in the community. They also need to tackle the huge shortfall in the mental health workforce in the NHS. That’s why I’m calling on the Government to recruit over 8,000 new staff members which would ensure that a million more people can access treatment.
I will continue to campaign for the Government to take much needed action to ensure that young people locally can access vital mental health support.’’