Major investment in child mental health services in Cumbria revealed

Depressed child. Stock image. FOTOLIA
Depressed child. Stock image. FOTOLIA
4 March 2016 1:09PM

AN additional million pounds is being invested in mental health services for children every year for the next five years in a landmark pledge to tackle problems within the stretched sector.

RELATED ARTICLE: Success in campaign after Cumbria mental health investment secured

The cash injection is being put into creating a young person's community eating disorder service which will see NHS specialist nurses visit and treat vulnerable patients in their own homes across the county.

The Evening Mail's Healthy Young Minds campaign has been pressing for revolution within psychiatric services for children and adolescents which have been long criticised for putting lives in danger due to long waiting lists and and poor access to emergency support.

However, the funding, made available from NHS England, hopes to cut the pressure on staff, promote early intervention and stop anorexic children needing to go to hospital.

More support

Although the exact details are yet to be decided, the money will set up a Cumbria-based community eating disorder service, employing and training specialist nurses to visit children and provide them with the regular psychological and physical support they need.

In addition to the eating disorder service, the £5m investment will support improvements in the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs) in Cumbria, particularly in providing out of hours help.

John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness, has cautiously welcomed the investment.

He said: "A funding review of the mental health services for children and teenagers in Cumbria was long overdue and as a result many of our young people were being let down and left in a dreadful state. 

"I fully support the Evening Mail’s campaign which is making a difference by pressing the authorities to take action and this investment is very welcome news, though I fear it will take more than this to correct the chronic under investment in this area."

Successful bid

The money has been awarded after Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and Cumbria County Council submitted a 'Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Well-being Transformation Plan' to NHS England.

Dr Mandy Boardman, GP lead for children and safeguarding for NHS Cumbria CCG, said: "It is an exciting opportunity to invest in new services allowing children and young people to receive the support they need closer to home, in a familiar place with the support of their family and friends.

"We hope this new service will then avoid the need for hospital treatment for eating disorders wherever possible."

The eating disorder service will be commissioned and supported by Cumbria CCG and will run alongside other mental health services that are provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as part of their whole system approach.

A mother who contacted the Evening Mail last year about her teenage daughter's delay in getting treatment for anxiety and developing anorexia also welcomed the news.

She said: "Definitely, I welcome the idea. It's long overdue but it's small steps at this time.

"Things can only get better. I don't think it could have got any worse for us.

"We need to keep going. Children shouldn't have to deal with it on their own."

See today's Evening Mail for an explainer of how the system will work with Dr Boardman and more on the Healthy Young Minds campaign.

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Jazz   Mansergh , Cumbria Monday, 15 February, 2016 at 10:46PM
Such a positive yet cautious news .... As it is Well overdue! I myself know full well the effects of our poor support towards services within Camhs and especially eating disorders in our county....in that I aim to improve in my passion for my career choice... MH is such an important topic to discuss and support yet disappointedly not enough! All fingers crossed for this investment and can't wait to see the well needed and deserved transformation for our children and young people....
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Steve   Earley , Barrow in Furness Thursday, 11 February, 2016 at 8:47AM
Welcoming news, but long overdue. As Mr Woodcock says, a lot more investment is needed as 5 million over 5 years wont go far, but it's a start and nice to know that authorities have recognized there is a problem.
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