I came across a report this week done by a number of organisations involved with children’s psychotherapy asking NHS staff involved in delivering children’s psychological services about the state of the services. The survey report that 84% responded that children needed to show more severe symptoms of illness in order to be seen than previously, that waiting times for treatment have increased, a third of children’s psychological services face downsizing or closure and three quarters responded there were not enough staff to meet demand.
This seems pretty standard now across the NHS so in itself not surprising. However this sits alongside the reporting of a rise in Children’s mental health issues. I find this extremely concerning. I think, from my own experience, that issues in childhood profoundly affect an individual into their adult life so if those issues are not effectively tackled early those problems are going to stack up in the future putting increased pressure on adult services which cannot cope with the current levels of mental health problems.
S2C, at the moment, works with over 18’s. We do what we do to support a whole range of individuals coping with their problems, a small cog in their support but one that helps. In the last 12 months on a number of occasions it has become clear to me that there is need for a service such as ours for the under 18’s. This comes from the direction of NHS services, family support services, schools, County Council Services all under pressure and reducing.
We seem to be now in a perfect storm. We are running an education system that, in my opinion, is racking up children’s mental health issues while at the same time running down the services to support children in crisis. Somewhere in the last twenty years we have gone from a system which encouraged children to achieve the best they could to one where they are told you are a failure if you don’t achieve A**. There is no room for elitism in education results. The plain truth is that there are always those who will not achieve the top grades. The pressure being applied to children to achieve those grades from a ridiculously young age is appalling.
More than ever young people are aware of the expectations of society. Along with pressure from education there is enormous pressure from social media and advertising to attain a certain look, lifestyle, career or fame where to not do so means you are a failure.
Maybe its time we had a think about what we are doing.
Some S2C artwork from this week: