Mental Health Treatment For Young People In Dire Shortage

Mental Health Treatment For Young People In Dire Shortage

By Charlotte Webster-

Mental health treatment for young people is in high shortage, and  causing concern for Gp’s all over the Uk, according to a survey.

The poll of UK family doctors commissioned by the youth mental health charity stem4 expressed their bleak outlook on the disturbingly low access to mental health treatment on the NHS.  They found that 99% of them expressed fears that under-18s would come to harm as a direct result of facing long delays to see a specialist and vital care being rationed. Nine in 10 GPs said health and social care services for young people who have anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other conditions were either “extremely inadequate” (37%) or “very inadequate” (53%), and only 10% said they were adequate or good. The situation calls for urgent intervention as we approach 2019.

Family doctors who  participated in the survey commissioned by the youth mental health charity stem4 expressed their bleak outlook on the disturbingly low access to mental health treatment on the NHS.  MedeConnect Healthcare Insight conducted the wide survey last month, expressed their experience that NHS child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) often could not respond to a recent sharp increase in demand for care. Health experts have indicated that social media, exam stress, poverty and family circumstances, are all causative factors to the rise in mental health issues. Delays of up to 18 months were witnessed as Calm providers expressed huge disappointment in the slow arrangements. But it is the same old story of poor panning and inadequate provision suffocating the NHS’s ability to respond to the crisis adequately.

Novel methods of addressing mental health problems may be required from all quarters. Its potential effect on society if left unattended could be more serious than it already is.

The findings, first published in the Uk Guardian newspaper on Sunday, continues a worrying trend of abandoned mental health issues in youngsters that could be spiralling out of control and manifesting itself through rising crime rates in the country. Mental health is broad in its causes, and can also stem from sexual or physical abuse,  sustained bullying, low self esteem, rejection, and many other factors. It is one of the most understated conditions affecting millions in the world. Experts say it affects 1 in every 4 people, but there are different levels, all of which can be intensified by new contributing factors. Delay for treatment should not be happening.

One  respondent in the survey said: “The delay is awful. Only the very severely affected are seen and then too little, too late. Patients are usually left to suffer, self-harm, or just get worse. They go to their local emergency department [A&E], get patched up and sent home and may get a referral to Camhs. But Camhs will find a reason why they are not bad enough to be seen, and the cycle continues. It’s an unfolding, heartbreaking tragedy.”

Another said: “It’s extremely frustrating. There is a lack of [treatment] options for most mental health issues affecting young people. Suffering for the patient and family is increased and in some cases deterioration to more severe problems is inevitable.”

INACCESSIBLE TREATMENT

The survey also found that 78% of GPs are worried that too few of their young patients can get treatment for mental ill-health.
86% have seen a rise in the last two years in the number of 11- to 18-year-olds with anxiety. 88% say it is impossible or very difficult for young people to get help with anxiety. 68% of Gp’s are seeing more under-18s who have self-harmed.
This year the government has made mental health a key priority, with Theresa May pledging to improve NHS care for troubled young people. Campaigners say patients who are left without treatment are more likely to deteriorate and may be at greater risk of harming themselves, having suicidal thoughts or trying to take their own life.

Anxiety is listed as one of the most common mental health problems young people suffer from today. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation-anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Anyone who experiences an anxiety disorder will tell you how acutely disabling it feels. Recent statistics from NHS Digital confirmed that emotional disorders, which include depression and anxiety, are the most prevalent conditions in children and young people, affecting 8.1% of five-to-19-year-olds. Anxiety disorders reach a peak in girls between the ages of 17 and 19, affecting 20.9% of this age group.

WELL DOCUMENTED CRISIS

The NHS crisis in relation to  mental health care  access is well documented. Years of under funding have left mental health services poorly resourced.  In 2016, NHS figures revealed that up to four in five children with mental health problems were denied access to treatment they urgently need in some parts of England. They also revealed that six in ten children and young people across England did not receive treatment for problems such as anxiety and depression, despite the threat of serious self harm resulting from their mental health problems.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, recently announced plans for patients to be able to make consultations with their GP by video link in the next five years, with all surgeries offering digital appointments using a smart phone or computer webcam within the next five years.  Critics say hi-tech solutions to healthcare could marginalise the elderly, because of their lower propensity to using computers or smartphones. Gp’s have also expressed concerns that video consultations would create a two-tier system in which younger, healthier patients who are more IT-savvy could see a GP quickly online, while the elderly wait for face-to-face appointments.

Over 90% of GPs in the survey think mental health services for young people are inadequate, with nearly all (99%) fearing that children in their care could come to harm while waiting for specialist treatment.  Stem4 offers early detection through education in secondary schools and early digital intervention.  developed Calm Harm, a mobile phone app to help young people manage their urge to self-harm.Since its launch 18 months ago, Calm Harm has had close to 900,000 downloads. It is mainly used by young people under the age of 19, and 93% of them report that their urge to self-harm passed after each use of the app

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