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Care Quality Commission review finds that child mental health services are fragmented

27 October 2017

Too many children and young people have a poor experience of care and some are simply unable to access timely and appropriate support.

That is one of the findings of the first phase of a government-commissioned review of mental health services for children and young people published today by the Care Quality Commission.

The review finds that there are examples of good and outstanding practice, but tis also variation in the quality of care. The system as a whole is fragmented, it says, and there are barriers to high-quality care.

Julia Faulconbridge, Child Lead for the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology, said:

“The pattern of fragmented and variable service provision identified by the review will come as no surprise to anyone who works in this field. Resources are limited and demand continues to rise, so a whole new approach is needed.

The British Psychological Society has published a number of documents over the last three years which contribute psychological evidence to the debate on what sort of services are needed to address the rising levels of demand and the lack of resources.

We must have high quality available for the children and young people who are experiencing significant distress, and guidance on this across the whole system can be found in What good looks like in psychological services for children, young people and their families.

However, we must also look to what can be done to reduce the numbers in need of such help. We are advocating for a whole system approach that considers the ways in which our society can support families and promote the healthy psychological development of our children and young people and intervene early when difficulties start to arise.

What good could like in integrated services for children, young people and their families; Preliminary guidance and examples of practice is particularly pertinent to the issues raised in the CQC report. In this publication we consider, at a practical level, how the issues of prevention, integration and lack of specialist resources can be tackled creatively to improve the whole child mental health landscape.

What good looks like in psychological services for schools and colleges, which was published in September, makes a strong case for embedding psychological services in schools and gives both guidance and practical examples of how it can be achieved.

Working in schools is an effective way of identifying and working with children and young people’s mental health needs and should lead to a more integrated service.

There we can work to improve the resilience and psychological wellbeing of children and young people to prevent the development of difficulties, as well as intervene early when difficulties do arise.

Psychology has practical, evidence based solutions to offer in the current debate over the mental health of our children, young people and their families that have the potential to transform what is currently provided and both reduce the incidence of difficulties and improve the care provided."

All these documents are free to download from the Society website, and hard copies can be requested by email.

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