It is why on ITV News this week we are running a series of reports on the state of mental health care in Britain. An investigation by ITV News and the charity Young Minds has revealed that in the last year alone £35m has been cut from children and adolescent services, £80m in the past four years.Worse, it is the early intervention services including those provided by local authorities in schools that have been hit hardest. So children with mental health problems are not being dealt with early enough and are ending up in wards – if they are lucky – where their problems worsen.We highlight the case of one teenager suffering from depression who tried to take her own life and who claims there were no appropriate services locally to help her. Eventually she was referred to the child and adolescent mental health service but was placed on a waiting list for months. This cannot be right. We also met a 22-year-old girl with mental health problems forced to spend a night in a police cell because there were no beds available. It is a dire state of affairs and needs urgent attention.
Read the rest of Mark Austins piece here. In the Coalition the Libdems made some good noises about mental health, but this all happened on their watch. Having said that, the health secretary was a Conservative then, and is a Conservative now. A recent survey on people's experience of mental health 'care' found that:
Just one in seven (14%) of the patients surveyed said the care they received provided the right response and helped to resolve their mental health crisis. Another 42% said it had helped a bit. But two in five (40%) said the care they had received was not right and had not helped them resolve their crisis.We have a National Health Service for physical illness, and a badly resourced imitation for mental health. Following Jeremy Hunt with a sousaphone might be fun, but what he really needs to do is to try to get an appointment at his local mental health unit before Christmas. But maybe the good people at ITV have already set that up.