Tor­mented kids must be helped

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News -

TO­DAY we re­veal that 70 chil­dren are be­ing treated for men­tal ill­ness in A&Es ev­ery day. That is so shock­ing, we will re­peat it.

Each day, 70 chil­dren are hav­ing their men­tal health prob­lems treated as ac­ci­dents and emer­gen­cies. This is scan­dalous.

The fig­ures for A&E treat­ment have been ris­ing alarm­ingly for 10 years. Some of that is due to the in­creas­ing pres­sures of poverty, lone­li­ness and so­cial me­dia.

But much of the blame for this is be­cause men­tal health ser­vices for chil­dren have been steadily fall­ing. There are five per cent less child psy­chi­a­trists than there were five years ago. And 23,686 men­tal health staff quit in the 12 months to May last year.

Yet ev­ery ex­pert agrees that early in­ter­ven­tion is the way to stop these con­di­tions be­com­ing emer­gen­cies.

Chil­dren go to A&E sim­ply be­cause there is nowhere else to turn.

The Cen­tre for Men­tal Health says it takes an av­er­age 10 years from the on­set of symp­toms to get­ting help. That means a child who de­vel­ops a prob­lem at eight will be an adult be­fore get­ting treat­ment.

Which is why ac­tion is needed now.

And in­stead of cut­ting taxes, the next PM must make this his pri­or­ity.

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