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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

CYP mental health support should be available online - Lamb

Written by The Press Association

Young people experiencing mental health problems should have access to therapy online, the care minister has said, as he warned that GPs must not put patients on anti-depressants as a "sort of default position".

Norman Lamb said a taskforce is currently looking at how to modernise children and young people's mental health care.

Mr Lamb has previously criticised services for young people as being "stuck in the dark ages" and "not fit for purpose".

The aim of new programmes being developed in mental health care is to provide a "seamless" service, Mr Lamb told The Times.

"If you're a teenager and your world revolves around digital access we must make sure you get access to therapy online," he told the paper.

"What I want to achieve is a much more seamless service that allows you access online, face to face or over the telephone, whichever is appropriate."

He added that a "worry" exists about doctors putting people on medication because they think there is no alternative.

Lucie Russell of the charity Young Minds said services do need to be adapted for modern society, but also warned of a risk of some people not seeking help from their GP and getting the medication they need.

Earlier this month the Commons' Health Select Committee said graphic online content had resulted in a direct increase in mental health problems among young people, including stress and anxiety.

In their report, MPs said there were "major problems" with access to inpatient mental health services and an unacceptable variation in the quality of services, with families facing "battles" to have their children treated.

They heard evidence from children who had spent months on a waiting list for therapy while some services admitted to being so overwhelmed that they only treated children once they had seriously self-harmed.

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