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Kids with mental health worries helpless after funding cuts

AT RISK: Young people with mental health problems

FUNDING CUTS have slashed vital services for children and young people suffering from mental health problems.

The research, conducted by charity Young Minds, also revealed that teams of specialist workers such as school nurses, who are trained to identify and treat children with emotional problems, are being disbanded. So too are many drop in counselling centres. Local services are losing many nurses and social workers posts.

YoungMinds said it is concerned that thousands of children and young people struggling to cope with mental distress may not get the help they need because of severe cuts.

The group said 29 out of of 55 services that responded to a Freedom of Information request, said they would reduce spend in this area. Some councils told the charity they planned to cut as much as 25 per cent of funding, leaving essential early intervention services at risk.

Polly Falconer, who works for the Afiya Trust a charity aimed at reducing inequalities in health and social care for ethnic groups told The Voice: “We are very concerned about the cuts and the impact on young people and particularly young people from minority backgrounds who are under represented in mental health services but obviously become over represented in adulthood.

“We will be seeking to work with policy workers and other partners to do what we can’t to reduce the inequalities in health services and also to respond to government policy as often as we can.”

Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition and many first seek help for problems including depression, anxiety and self-harm from professionals in school.

Another survey of health trusts and councils has found that more than half have cut their budgets for children and young people’s mental health services for 2011/2012.

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