"The Government's 'taskforce' into children and young people's mental health must focus on how to bring about a significant shift in resources to invest in early intervention and address shockingly high levels of unmet need," Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said today.

"The Centre welcomes the creation of a taskforce but it is vital that it addresses the key issues we face in meeting the mental health needs of children and young people. There is already a wealth of guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence about what interventions work for children and young people with emotional and behavioural problems.

"Yet three-quarters of children with mental health problems receive no specialist support at all. This needs to be addressed urgently by the Department of Health, NHS England, local authorities, schools and every clinical commissioning group in England.

"We need to act now to start closing the treatment gap for children and young people. The taskforce needs to examine what changes can be made to the way health services are funded and commissioned to ensure that children with mental health problems are no longer made to wait unacceptably long times for treatment. It needs to focus on what schools, GPs and other public services that come into contact with families can do to identify risks and needs quickly. And it needs to build on the evidence of how to create services that are effective, engaging and credible in the eyes of young people to help them to improve their health and wellbeing.

"No child should be left to suffer with depression, anxiety or behavioural problems when there are effective (and very cost-effective) interventions available to help them. It is time to take concerted action to put this right in every community for every child who needs help for their mental health."