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British nurses consider youth mental healthcare to be inadequate

Seven out of 10 specialist nurses working within child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) believe NHS support to be insufficient, according to a recent poll by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

A further 20 per cent of respondents felt that services were highly inadequate, with potentially dangerous consequences, and just 13 per cent of the 631 mental health nurses believed CAMHS to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

The poll also found that eight out of 10 nurses believe issues in CAMHS are actually making young people’s problems worse.

The RCN poll found that 73 per cent of respondents saw under-staffing as the main problem within CAMHS; 72 per cent cited delays in patients getting appointments and 69 per cent saw young patients being sent ‘out of area’ to receive a bed as the greatest issue.

59 per cent of nurses saw the inability of staff to give patients as many appointments or as much care as they need to be the main problem.

One nurse said in her response to the survey: “Children and their families are suffering due to poor CAMHS support and availability. The criteria for referral means children are having to attempt or threaten to take their own lives before receiving support.”

In reference to £1.4 billion which was pledged by the UK Government to help improve children’s mental health services by 2020, Liberal Democrat MP and former health minister Norman Lamb said to The Guardian: “Too much of that money has been diverted elsewhere and is not getting through to where it is desperately needed.”

Speaking to The Student, Isobel Thomas, a second year Biomedical Science student, discussed her thoughts on the recent poll.

“I think that more funding could definitely be put towards mental health in the NHS, I’ve seen so many friends suffer from a range of problems over the years”, Thomas said.

In Scotland, recent evidence has been especially damning, with NHS figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, showing that some children and young people are waiting almost two years to receive access to CAMHS treatment.

For young women in particular, a recent report by The Scottish Health Survey highlighted that women between 16 and 24 have “significantly lower” levels of mental well-being compared to other age groups.

The survey found that levels of anxiety in adults has been on the increase, as well as the number of young adults reporting mental health issues.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon came under fire in light of these new findings with opposition parties questioning her “abject failures” as former Health Secretary.

In recent years, a rise in the number of students seeking support for mental health issues has also been found.

Figures obtained by The Guardian show a 50 per cent increase in the number of students seeking counselling at university.

Statistics from The University of Edinburgh in particular, highlighted an increase in the number of male students approaching support services from 274 a year between 2010 and 2011 to 623 a year between 2014 and 2015.

One anonymous student speaking to The Student commented that they felt less supported following a shift from school to university life in their first year.

“There is an increased feeling of academic pressure and less support as you’re living away from home,” they said.

 

Image: Vitalworks

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The Student Newspaper 2016