Teens with mental health issues suffer during transition to adult care

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An inquiry by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has found that young people are not receiving enough care around the time when they transition from child to adult mental health services in England.

Each year, around 25,000 young people transition between the two services. The report found individuals to be extremely vulnerable at this time. Delays are often encountered and some people lose all the support they previously had.

HSIB recommended introducing a more flexible approach to the transition rather than having a cut-off point once the individual turns 18. They suggested allowing young people to gradually transition up to the age of 25.

Evidence suggests that one in ten children between the ages of five and 16 have a mental health condition. Half of these conditions will be established by the age of 14.

HSIB’s investigation was initiated following the suicide of an 18-year-old man who died just after his transition between his child and adult mental health care.

Amanda Cavanagh, a Medical Negligence Specialist at Ashtons Legal, says: “There remains a lack of funding and recruitment of qualified mental health professionals within the mental health services as a whole. Unfortunately this means that both child and adult mental health services are undermanned and underfunded, therefore it not surprising that as a result the transitional period between child and adult services is also affected.”


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