With the Treasury set to publish its spending review next Wednesday (25 November 2015), Norman Lamb’s move to launch an Early Day Motion calling for urgent investment in mental health services for children and young people adds welcome pressure to the campaign for better funding.
As we told The Guardian earlier this week, while the NHS is undeniably facing almost unprecedented levels of financial strain it is absolutely crucial that fair funding for mental health does not become overshadowed by concerns over deficits in the acute sector.
The promise of an additional £250 million per year over the course of the next parliament to improve children’s mental health services is, of course, welcome and we want to see the government deliver on its commitment to providing these much needed funds into CAMHS services.
The statistics concerning children and adolescent mental ill health clearly show the case for additional funding. In London alone, over 111,000 young people are suffering from mental ill-health – that’s enough to fill 3,700 classrooms. Fifty percent of mental health problems will occur before someone is 14 years old: early intervention is vital to providing the right mix of treatment and support to help our capital’s young people to recover and remain well.
It’s estimated that missed opportunities to support the mental health and well-being of young people costs the public sector purse up to £2.4 billion a year. It costs the London education system £200 million a year. And yet effective treatments and interventions are available – where funding allows: evidence shows that £8 is saved for every £1 invested in supporting parents raising children who have a conduct disorder.
So the case is for funding mental health services is economic as well as dutiful. Investment into mental health services isn’t one more item to add to our increasing NHS bill, it’s a viable long-term solution that will save money and transform lives.