Express & Star comment: Mental health crisis must be addressed
Among the many challenges facing our NHS, the crisis in mental health is one that has, to some extent, flown under the radar.
While emergency department waiting times, bed blocking, ambulance handover rates and delayed appointments garner the majority of the headlines, the country’s mental health provision is causing great concern.
It is particularly concerning that so many young people are struggling with mental health issues.
And the fact that the number of these cases have risen eight times faster than funding levels suggests that extra cash is required as a matter of urgency.
The Government has pledged billions of pounds in extra funding for the NHS, and we can only hope that sufficient cash is directed towards mental health resources.
However, as is the case with all aspects of our health service, this is not a problem that can be solved purely by opening up the purse strings.
There needs to be a closer working relationship between all agencies if we are to tackle this mental health crisis.
And in the case of young children, this means schools, youth workers, and families must be involved.
It is scandalous that at the moment, only three out of 10 young people with mental health conditions are given the treatment they require.
And it is equally as shocking that children who are initially denied NHS support are not kept track of, and in some cases not directed to other services that may be able to help them.
This is a major flaw in the system – and it is one that cannot be solely attributed to a funding shortfall.
There needs to be a change of approach to ensure that all people suffering from mental health issues are guided towards the right support.
It will be interesting to see the results of the Government’s pilot on mindfulness, which is set to run in 370 schools across the country over the next two years.
When dealing with some mental health conditions, prevention can be an effective tool.
In modern day Britain, we are far more open about our mental health than ever.
But as the pressures of our society increase, we need to make sure that the right support is there for those who need it.