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Mental health cuts risk more teen suicides, warns charity

The government must urgently improve support for mental health services in order to cut the number of young suicides in the UK, a charity has warned.

Papyrus, which campaigns for the prevention of young suicide, said cuts to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) locally since 2010 are putting young people at risk.

In addition, it said volunteers at the charity’s helpline have reported a spike in phone calls, with between 600 and 800 people aged 15-24 taking their own lives every year in the UK.

“Too many cuts have been made and something has to be done to improve the provision of services”

Stephen Habgood

Charity chair Stephen Habgood said: “With escalating mental health problems amongst the young, we can anticipate increased suicidal behaviours. This government must urgently address this unacceptable situation.”

The charity said it is increasingly concerned that, in various parts of the country, CAMHS is seriously under-resourced to meet the increasing demands for services.

Over the Christmas period, helpline volunteers said it was clear there was a critical shortage of beds available to young people with acute mental health issues.

The charity has been pressing the government to ensure that these services are fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of young people who may be at risk of suicide.

Mr Habgood said: “We are not criticising those dedicated staff who work in children’s services. But too many cuts have been made and something has to be done to improve the provision of services to vulnerable young people.

“Placing children with acute mental health needs in adult facilities or holding them in custody is nothing less than disgraceful.”

 

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