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Health select committee chair: CAMHS failings break my heart

2 min read

The chair of the commons select committee has said the state of child mental health services in the UK “breaks his heart” after an investigation by The House Magazine exposed severe delays and a de facto postcode lottery facing those seeking care.

Steve Brine, the Conservative MP for Winchester, told PoliticsHome’s podcast The Rundown the issue was so serious that it went beyond party politics, and that his committee would be looking into the crisis in the provision of mental health care to young people.

Last week The House reported some children were waiting four years to receive critical help and that in the UK the average wait for a first appointment had risen by 53 per cent to 16 weeks.

Responses to FOI requests to 70 trusts and boards providing children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) also discovered a de facto postcode lottery, where mental health services varied hugely between different regions of the country.

"This breaks my heart to see this, and you know, we need to leave our politics at the door on this one more than anything because it's so so important,” Brine told PoliticsHome's podcast, The Rundown, on Thursday. 

"Young people have had a rotten few years, and many of them have been left with some real anxiety challenges as result of it, so yes, it's a very key workstream of the prevention work."

Tory MP Brine said child mental health would be a “key workstream” in his committee’s work into prevention, adding that he had experienced mental health illness in his personal life.

“Without giving away too much personal detail, I have a very close experience of it in recent years in my life, and you've got very low-level mental health or low-level anxiety problems that are not being nipped in the bud – and the Education Committee are looking at those mental health interventions in schools as well I know – and then becoming much bigger,” he told the podcast.

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