Spurgeons calls on Government to urgently address disparity in mental health funding

Child sat down on a field upset

With NHS data pointing to one in five children having a probable mental health difficulty last year, the national children's charity Spurgeons is calling on the Government to urgently address the disparity between adult and children's mental health services. 

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week starting on Monday 13th May, Spurgeons also points to the recent report (March 2024) from the Children's Commissioner, who notes:

I do not think it is an overstatement to speak of a crisis in children’s mental health and the services needed to support them.

Children's Commissioner, 2024

During 2023/24, Integrate Care Boards (ICBs) planned to allocate £1.1 billion towards children and young people's mental health services and an additional £96 million towards eating disorders. However, the amount only represents 8% of the total local mental health spending, because on average, local clinical commissioning group areas (CCGs) spend 13 times more on adult mental health services than on children's services.

Spurgeons' CEO, Ian Soars, believes that children and young people's mental health provision receiving less than 1% of the overall mental health budget needs urgent attention. 

He comments: "Addressing equal mental health funding for children and young people is long overdue. The impact of mental health issues among our nation's children can be seen far and wide, whether it be a classroom, youth club, or a local GP surgery. Having previously compared the crisis to a tidal wave, I believe it is now more like a tsunami, which means it's vital that the allocation of funding adequately reflects the urgent need. Charities such as Spurgeons are often left to pick up the pieces where support for families is sorely lacking, so it's time that the Government addresses this disparity before the crisis becomes hopeless."

Winnie*, a 13-year-old girl with ADHD was being badly bullied at school resulting in her missing lessons and sometimes whole days of school. Her Spurgeons counsellor, Amelia Curtis, explains: "She would become so very anxious and felt severely panicked or 'frozen', which would then cause her to not attend school at all... Her ADHD can cause her to go into her own world, zone out, or look at other pupils for a bit too long, which are some of the reasons why the bullying had escalated so intensely.

With Spurgeons’ support through regular counselling, Winnie is gradually changing, growing, and blossoming. I am delighted that the process has allowed her to become more confident, self-assured, and resilient.

Amelia Curtis, Spurgeons Counsellor

Winnie's story is one of many that mirrors the progress facilitated by expert-led support towards a child's improved well-being. Spurgeons aim to help plug the gaps in the provision of vital resources, so more children and families are given the support they need to thrive. 

To help parents struggling with their child's mental health, Spurgeons is offering free 20-minute live chat sessions with qualified counsellors for parents concerned about their child's mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-17 May 2024). The sessions aim to provide advice on the next steps a parent can take to access support and facilitate their child's progress. 

Click the link here to access Spurgeons’ ‘Ask A Counsellor’ live chat

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