Minister says mental health care for young people is ‘in dark ages'

  • A government minister has said that mental health services for young people in England are "stuck in the dark ages" and "not fit for purpose". /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    Norman Lamb has spoken to the BBC to say he was determined to modernise the provision of psychiatric help for children.

    The care and support minister plans to launch a task force to look into ways of improving services. One task force member said that "ultimately, money will have to be spent"

    Current issues with mental health services for young people involves; an increase in the number of young people treated in adult wards, usually a large distance away from home and a reduction in the number of services led by councils.

    Mr Lamb told BBC News: "I don't think that children's mental health services, the way they're organised, the way they're commissioned, are fit for purpose. I'm determined that we modernise services for children who have mental health problems. In many respects, the way services are organised is stuck in the dark ages and it needs to be brought into the modern age."

    One in 10 children and young people aged five to 16 suffers from a mental health condition, but just 0.6% of NHS funding is spent on services.

    Sarah Brennan, chief executive of Young Minds, who will also sit on the task force said: "We can't have discussions about provision of services without talking about resources. Ultimately, they're (the NHS) are going to have to spend some money."

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