Suffolk facing ‘tsunami’ of youngsters with mental health crisis, Lowestoft Rising warns
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A “tsunami” of youngsters with mental health problems is on the horizon in Suffolk, a wellbeing movement has warned.
Phil Aves from Lowestoft Rising – a scheme aimed at improving the quality of life in the coastal town – addressed a gathering of Suffolk’s council leaders and chief executives on Friday, where he said mental health was its number one priority.
“I think we have got a real problem coming, not just for Lowestoft but across Suffolk,” he told the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting.
“I speak to schools and they are sitting on a lot of children with mental health problems, and it’s feeding through from all primary schools.
“We have got to be really careful about that.”
Mr Aves described the problem as a “tsunami coming through our schools” that was soon to hit the county, and pointed to increases in self-harm and suicides in young people.
He added: “If you come in with a black eye people say ‘are you sure you should be here’ but if you come in with depression no-one notices.”
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The Lowestoft Rising team is encouraging schools to start the day by urging children to outline their mood that day, as part of measures to get people talking about the issue.
The comments came at the end of a week in which Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services in the county, was given a third ‘inadequate’ rating in a row by the Care Quality Commission.
Ed Garratt, chief officer for West Suffolk and Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups said the state of mental health services was “deeply, deeply concerning” and said cost cutting measures by NSFT in 2012 which saw a reduction in the number of clinical practitioners was now being seen.
He outlined a new plan by the CCGs for solutions in primary care, which aims to have mental health co-ordinators working alongside GPs, so that those presenting with mental health problems can be seen quicker.
Melanie Craig, chief officer for Waveney and Great Yarmouth CCG added: “Nothing is off the table at the moment, except the status quo.
“I think we will need to roll this out quite quickly , and think about how we are going to make this happen faster than perhaps we were considering last week.”