Children needing mental health services should be guaranteed treatment within four weeks, with next-day referrals for those at risk of self-harm and suicide, according to an inquiry into the explosion in demand from young people for psychiatric help.
The inquiry by the Commission on Young Lives, chaired by the former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield, said a “once in a generation” £1bn recovery package was needed to boost an overstretched NHS system too often forced to turn away unwell youngsters.
In March, 90,789 young people were referred to NHS children and young people’s mental health services, the highest figure since records began, the inquiry said. It cited school leaders and youth workers who said dealing with young people who self-harm or make suicide attempts was now “a regular part of their professional lives”.
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