Lack of collaboration causing mental health ‘crisis point’

A report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that too many young people are finding themselves at ‘crisis point’ before accessing mental health services because public services are not effectively working together.

The CQC is calling for the Department for Health and Social Care to guarantee greater collaboration across government departments in how their policies prioritise the mental health needs and well-being of children and young people in England.

The inspectorate has also suggested that Ofsted and inspectorates of independent schools recognise and assess how schools support children and young people’s mental health, and that national bodies recognise and build on the examples of good, person-centred care that exist, and to support people working locally so they can develop innovative approaches to high-quality care based on local need.

Dr Paul Lelliott, lead for mental health at the CQC, said: “Children and young people deserve to have their mental health needs and well-being put at the heart of every decision, be that planning, commissioning or resourcing. Currently, this is not the reality everywhere and we heard from too many young people who felt they could only access care at a crisis point because local services are not working together, or are not able to work together effectively to support their mental health and wellbeing.

“Despite the pressure the system is facing, we saw dedicated staff across the country who embodied this vision and whose work presents an opportunity to transform and improve the experience of children and young people with mental health needs. With children’s mental health a high priority for Government, we must grasp this opportunity. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health sets out the right ambition for service improvement in mental health, but national bodies must work together and champion creative and effective solutions that go beyond the traditional boundaries of health and social care.

“Our report provides clear recommendations based on listening to children and young people, as well as looking at all the organisations with a role to play in this area. We all need to act now and to act together. If we do not, we risk letting down children and young people across the country and undermining their potential in adult life.”