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Early support cuts blamed for rise in mental health hospital admissions

Cuts to early help services have been blamed for a dramatic increase in the number of visits to hospital emergency departments by young people in mental health crisis.

It has been revealed that in 2013/14, emergency departments admitted 47 children and young people aged 18 or younger with a mental health crisis every day and that the annual total of 17,278 admissions is almost double 2010/11’s figure of 9,328.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of children's mental health charity YoungMinds, said the figures are “deeply worrying” and laid the blame at cuts to community-based early intervention support for young people with mental health issues. 

She said: “YoungMinds has warned for several years that cuts to early intervention services and community-based children’s mental health services would put increased pressure on crisis services. What is needed now is not a sticking plaster around crisis services but investment in early intervention. Support needs to be provided to children, young people and their families when they start to struggle, so that we can prevent the intense suffering that a mental health crisis and entrenched mental illness can cause.”

Dr Gillian Rose, vice chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists child and adolescent faculty said: “These figures confirm a worrying trend for increasing emergency presentations of children and adolescents with mental health issues. Children and young people's wellbeing is being impacted by cuts in community early intervention services.”