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Young people 'not receiving mental health care they need'

From BBC - October 26, 2017

Young people are facing long waiting times and unequal access to mental health services, a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

The commissioner said this could be "putting young people's lives at risk".

The review found nearly 40% of specialist child and adolescent services needed improvement.

Alice Gibbs, who was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12, said a lack of access to specialised services had had a long-term effect on her recovery.

She waited six months to see a mental health professional. "Knowing that we had to wait for that help and things were only getting worse was scary," she says.

She received treatment in Leicester for several years, but it was later recommended that she get specialist treatment. At the time, the nearest specialist unit for eating disorders was in London.

"It's a complete postcode lottery," she says. "I was 16 years old, and apart from being really physically unwell, I was mentally unwell. I did not want to be away from my family."

How long are young people waiting?

The CQC's Dr Paul Lelliott said the "system's complexity and fragmentation must be overcome".

"There are many people out there working to make sure that children and young people who experience mental health issues are offered caring support. Their dedication is to be celebrated.

"However, we must also address those times when a child or young person feels let down or not listened to and make sure the same level of support is available."

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