Children and Mental Health Services — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton 2:30 pm, 16th July 2019

I point my hon. Friend to some of the work done in my area by Matthew Ellis, the Staffordshire police and crime commissioner, and the work done by the Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary on how we treat mental health in our police stations. That is very important, but it is even more important for vulnerable young children. She makes a valid point. I will canter through some more points before taking more interventions.

The Government’s own survey shows that one in four children with a mental health disorder are seen by a mental health specialist and over 400,000 children are receiving no assistance at all. The NHS is managing to see only a fraction of the young people who have problems. My hon. Friend talks about cross-departmental working. I am delighted that the Minister is here, because she has done a huge deal to bang heads together and make this a priority. It involves the NHS, local government, the police and so many different areas, which we need to bring together.

The Children’s Commissioner’s analysis of NHS figures from 2017-18 shows that 325,000 children were treated by community services, while another 5,000 are in hospital—less than 3% of the population. Around £700 million is spent on child and adolescent mental health services and eating disorder support. By comparison, services for adults received 15 times more, despite the fact that children represent 20% of the population. While it is important that we are putting money into mental health services, we are turning it on its head. We need to put more money into children’s services, not only because there is such a great demand, but because if we can nip problems in the bud by making that early intervention, we can avoid those services being needed later in life.