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“A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode”: A Survey of GPs’ Concerns about Mental Health Services for Children and Young People

The results of this report unfortunately reflect the fact that children and young people's mental health problems appear to be increasing in number, yet children's mental health services have historically been underfunded and undervalued. Children and young people's mental health is a critical issue given that we know that 50% of adult mental illness starts around the age of 14 years and 75% before the age of 18 years. There are strong links with social inequalities and poor parental mental health. We know there are evidence based, cost effective treatments available and that earlier intervention is important in many areas of mental ill health but particularly first episode psychosis for example.

As traditional gatekeepers for more specialist services, parents often turn to their GP for advice and guidance. Children and young people do not present in the same ways as adults when experiencing mental illness or distress. This makes it all the more important that General Practitioners receive appropriate training and resources to be able to respond effectively with a range of partner organisations such as education, social services, youth justice and secondary care to deliver high quality care and support to children, young people and their families.