Opinion: Failure of mental health support for young people
Reports released recently show the true extent of the failure of mental health support across the country and in Sheffield. More than 250,000 children and young people have been denied help by the NHS as they struggle to deal with the workload.
This news has prompted a number of parents and carers to contact Louise Haigh MP to share their experiences of the mental health provision in the city and to ask for help and support.
Many parents and carers have been in touch worried about their young people who are coming up to their 18th birthday and have been told by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) that they can no longer support their children.
One parent got in touch about their child, who struggles with anxiety, depression and has learning difficulties. She was sectioned last year because she threatened to harm herself. She and her family were told by CAMHS, two weeks before her 18th birthday, that they would help her transition into adult mental health services and that she would be provided with a choice of accommodation. This didn’t happen and she was placed in a refuge for women who had faced domestic abuse. She was then told that if she didn’t take this accommodation, she’d be making herself intentionally homeless.
Another parent contacted Louise concerned about their 17-year-olds mental health. He has been suffering with OCD, depression and social anxiety. CAMHS wouldn’t support their son because he was turning 18 in a few months and adult mental health services couldn’t take him because he wasn’t yet 18. This left the family unable to obtain any support for their son.
Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley, said: “Some of the stories that parents and carers contact me about with regards to their children’s mental health are heart wrenching.
"Children who are coming up to their 18th birthday, and are therefore classed as adult by society, have no recourse to services, and this should not be the case.
“We have seen that as a result of the pandemic, many more young people are struggling with their mental health and unfortunately, the residents who have contacted me for support, are not alone in what they’re experiencing.
“We know, that under successive Tory government’s that our mental health services have been underfunded and under resourced, and this has resulted in more and more people unable to get the help and support they need.
“I’m doing all I can to support everyone who come through my door, but only a Labour government will fix the broken mental health system.
“We will recruit thousands of much needed mental health professionals and have open access hubs for young people in every community.”