"Cutting early intervention in psychosis (EIP) services puts young people at risk of worse health and poorer life chances," Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan warned today.

Responding to Lost Generation, a report published today by Rethink Mental Illness, Sean Duggan said: "Early Intervention in Psychosis services are known to be highly effective in helping young people to negotiate their first episode of psychosis. They offer hope of a brighter future by helping young people to stay in education, to get and keep work, and to support their physical health. They are very good value for money, saving the NHS £9 and the wider economy another £9 for every £1 invested in them. It is very worrying to hear that half of EIP services have seen their budgets cut this year and that young people are facing delays in getting help when they need it.

"We know that health and social care commissioners are under financial pressures and they need to make savings. Cutting EIP, however, is a false economy that will create many more costs down the line. And ‘merging’ EIP teams with other community services will only work if the distinctive and evidence-based elements of early intervention in psychosis are protected.

"We cannot leave children and young people’s mental health to chance. Early intervention can improve health and life chances dramatically. It needs more, not less, investment. The NHS needs to get the most out of scarce resources and evidence-based early interventions, implemented faithfully, are crucial to ensure money is spent wisely."