Action is needed at every level to ensure mental health support for children and young people is more effective, responsive and consistent, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s report Are we listening?, Sarah Hughes said: “Today’s report is yet another reminder that support for families, children and young people’s mental health is reactive, fragmented and difficult to navigate. Too many families struggle to get help for their children when they need it and face long delays and waiting lists. Too often they only get help once the situation reaches crisis point.

“The CQC also found that many services are poorly equipped to help children and young people from Black and minority ethnic communities and those who identify as lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender, despite the higher levels of poor mental health some may experience.

Too many families struggle to get help for their children when they need it and face long delays and waiting lists. Too often they only get help once the situation reaches crisis point.

“We welcome the report’s call for a more coordinated approach to meeting children and young people’s mental health needs at every level, from national government to every locality and community. It is essential that all public services working with children and families are able to work together to support mental health and ensure speedy access to the right help when it is needed.

“The Government’s recent green paper on children’s mental health has made a welcome pledge to improve mental health support in schools and to speed up access to specialist services for those with the most serious conditions. It now needs to go further, to recognise the wider systems of support in the public and voluntary sectors that children need to enjoy better mental health and to address the stark inequalities that often leave the most marginalised children with the least effective help.

The Government’s recent green paper needs to go further, to address the stark inequalities that often leave the most marginalised children with the least effective help.

“Children and young people’s mental health is too important to be left to chance. We must ensure that getting help for a child’s mental health is easy and quick. We need to offer young people a wider range of ways to get help with their mental health. And we need to support schools to create a mentally healthy environment for students and staff alike.”