Thousands of teenagers 'denied' mental health care
Page last updated at 06:57 GMT, Monday, 11 March 2013
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Thousands of teenagers in England are being denied access to free mental health care because of funding cuts, it is being claimed.Newsbeat's been given exclusive access to figures from the charity Young Minds which show a number of local authorities have reduced spending for mental health services for young people.
The charity conducted a review of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across the whole of the UK.
Of the 51 local authorities to respond, 34 revealed they had cut their budgets since 2010.
Although NHS funding has remained steady, it's claimed the cuts in funding from local authorities means services such as drop-in counselling and advice lines are losing out.
Central government cuts have put pressure on local authority budgets in England since 2010, with many being forced to make major savings.
Young Minds says it appreciates cuts need to be made, however it claims not treating people when they show early signs of mental health problems ends up costing the economy more in the long term as many end up needing expensive NHS care.
"When a young person approaches someone and says 'I don't feel ok' it's vital for them, and for our economy, that those problems are seen to," said Lucie Russell, campaigns director for Young Minds.
One service that's been affected is Off The Record Bristol, a charity offering free counselling service for young people aged up to 25.
Council cuts 2010-2013Continue reading the main story
- Derby City Council - 41%
- Redcar and Cleveland - 27%
- Norfolk City Council - 35%
- Sefton Council - 29%
Carina Andrews, 19, lives in South Gloucestershire and has benefited from Off The Record counselling in the past when she was treated for anxiety.
"Things were getting on top of me. These low moods appeared, I had anxiety for a long time. The counselling was fantastic, it completely built my confidence."
However, she's worried that if she needed similar support in the future she would be turned away because of where she lives.
"I literally live a street into South Gloucestershire and I couldn't receive counselling anymore because of that. That worries me a little bit.
"If I did start to struggle, where would I go?"
The charity's director Simon Newitt estimates they're now turning away at least 200 people a year.
He says: "It's a rubbish conversation to have, to say 'We can't help you and there's nothing in your area that you can access.'"
The Department of Health say they've spent more than £50m over the past four years on talking therapies and have also put pressure on local NHS departments to make sure they deliver services.