Our documentary aimed to address the chronic lack of government funding in the UK’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The concept first came on our radar when ITV Evening News Presenter, Mark Austin, spoke about his daughter’s struggle with anorexia, and the government’s subsequent failure to provide adequate support.
There is chronic under funding for child and adolescent mental health services across the UK. In research released in November by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it was shown that some local NHS trusts are spending less than £10 per head on the mental health of children and adolescents in their local communities.
Royal College of Psychiatry research shows that children and adolescents’ mental health is still underfunded when it comes to the share of NHS spending in many areas of the country. There are 52 Clinical Commissioning Groups in England that are allocating less than 5% of their total mental health budget to services for children and young people. That’s despite the fact that one in every ten children aged 5-16 years has a diagnosable mental health disorder and children under 18 make up a fifth of the population (21.3%).
In this short documentary we strived to shed light on the fact that despite the amount of media attention focusing on NHS failing peoples physical illnesses, comparatively little attention has been given to this silent epidemic affecting the most vulnerable people in our society. We therefore believed the topic would provide scope for emotive human-led story-telling.
Saoirse Wilson is an MA student at City University of London and one of the highly commended entrants for the Carole Stone Award for Mental Health submitted to the Hippocratic Post Awards for Student Medical Journalism.