Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children's Bureau, said:
'This report confirms that mental health services for children and young people have been a neglected part of the NHS for too long. With half of life time mental illness, excluding dementia, starting by the age of 14, the case for early intervention has long been clear. But we appear to have be going in the wrong direction, with hospital admissions of 10 to 14 years olds for self-harm rising dramatically in recent years, and almost doubling for girls in this age group.
'But we still don't have a robust understanding of children and young people's mental health needs at a local level. If mental health services are to be planned and commissioned effectively, we need reliable data on what is required and where the need for specialist support is identified, it must be resourced on a par with physical health services.
'We welcome the taskforce's recognition of the importance of schools in building wellbeing and mental health. As a universal service attended by children every day, schools bear witness to the full range of children's needs, whether they are needs that can be met by the school or require input from another agency.
'Training within health services must be improved too: some young people report a poor experience of seeking support for mental health issues and GPs themselves have been calling for better training in this area.
'We are glad that the taskforce has been drawing on a wide range of experience across the children's sector. NCB has long been calling for improvements to how emotional wellbeing and mental health needs are addressed by all services which work with children and young people. We hope that its report will make clear to any incoming Government that they must prioritise child mental health, providing adequate resources and a clear strategy to address all of the issues highlighted.'