Thousands of Essex children being let down by mental health plans

THOUSANDS of Essex’s abused children let down by failing NHS mental health plans

– NSPCC analysis found Essex’s NHS CCGs’ local mental health plans failed to properly plan for the needs of abused children

– Compared to last year, half of CCGs rated red or amber again across England

– NSPCC calling on NHS bodies to urgently plan for the mental health needs of children who have been abused

More than 52,000 children in Essex who have been abused or NEGLECTED are not covered by adequate NHS plans for their mental health needs, new NSPCC research estimates.

The charity analysed the latest annual plans published by NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which set out how they will care for children’s mental health, and found that across England 88 per cent were failing to properly plan for the needs of vulnerable children including those who had been abused.

All 195 CCGs in England were given a traffic light rating by the NSPCC and for 2017/18, 146 were rated amber and 21 were rated red. This means that an estimated 1.3 million abused children in England are living in an area with inadequate plans for their mental health needs, or with no plans for their care whatsoever.

In addition, half of CCGs have stagnated and received a red or amber rating for the second year running, with no apparent improvements in planning for the mental health needs of abused children.

Essex’s seven CCGs all received an amber rating for the second year running which means action is needed to improve the plan for the county’s estimated 52,867 children who have been abused or neglected.

The NSPCC is calling on all NHS CCGs to urgently recognise and plan for the increased mental health needs of children who have been abused.

Research shows that adults who have suffered abuse in childhood are twice as likely to develop clinical depression[1]. Early support is key to minimising the long- term impact of mental health issues.

In 2016/17, one in three Childline counselling sessions related to mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues. In 36 per cent of Childline counselling sessions where abuse was the main concern, the young person also discussed their mental and emotional health, suicidal feelings or self-harm2.

Almudena Lara, NSPCC’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “We recognise the hard work of NHS staff providing much-needed mental health services to young people. These ratings are not a reflection on those services and the staff working to deliver them.

“But our analysis shows that there are CCGs across the England that are still not properly planning for the mental health needs of abused children and young people. It is crucial these children are supported to get back on track and lead healthy lives.

“In future we want to see more CCGs not only recognise the needs of these children, but go further and ensure services are there to support them.”

NHS England has stipulated that CCGs must update their plans annually and the NSPCC is calling on all CCGs to develop clearer strategies to meet the mental health needs of children who have been abused in their 2018/19 updated plans and all future plans.

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