CARE Minister, Norman Lamb admitted last week that the organisation of children’s mental health care is not fit for purpose.
He said it was stuck in the ‘dark ages’ as four different layers of bureaucracy vied for control leaving young people at risk and unable to access truly responsive services that would help them improve their lives.
It is complex and difficult to navigate and often means that there is a lack of care for young people at risk and often a knee jerk response as they are hospitalised, often 100s of miles from home.
Mr Lamb has setup a taskforce to seek the opinion of former service users as well as commissioners about the best way to help support young people suffering mental health issues. He wants them to investigate more innovative methods such as a greater reliance on new technologies, the third sector and applying some joined up thinking.
Norman Lamb visited one of our uStep supports in Leeds in March. He said after meeting some of the people we serve how impressed he was at the way it obviously helped improve their lives and by putting those at the heart of their communities gave them real life choices of their own.
Young people and children are at risk and vulnerable, they need support to make some real choices of their own, secure they will not have those choices over ridden or ignored.
Putting them in long term institutions such as mental health wards, often adult wards hundreds of miles from family and friends will only make their condition worse and reduce the chances of their condition improving.
We welcome the commitment by Norman Lamb to tackle children’s’ mental health service but we would like the chance to be part of the task force and take along some of the people we serve who we have helped and showcase how far their lives have improved by them being at the heart of their own care package, integrating into society and striving to make a very real contribution to society.
Better still we would like to host a meeting of the taskforce so they can immerse themselves in our ethos of treating everybody as they could be rather than as they are.
Many of the younger people we serve have jobs, or are in full or part time education geared towards a career path where they will live independently safely. That is what uStep can achieve, a seismic shift in the condition and outcome for our vulnerable young people.
We know Norman Lamb understands what we are trying to achieve and that he thinks highly of uStep, we’d like others to see how beneficial it can be and look at ways of implementing it nationwide to benefit all young people with mental health issues.
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