Eating disorders, House of Commons, 27 February 2019

Improving and maintaining community wellbeing, including mental health, is a key priority for councils. Poor mental health can affect any of us at any stage of our lives, including in childhood.


Key messages

  • Improving and maintaining community wellbeing, including mental health, is a key priority for councils. Poor mental health can affect any of us at any stage of our lives, including in childhood.
  • We were pleased with the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) to boost investment in children and young people’s eating disorder services over the next five years. The increased funding for children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in the last Budget was also welcome.
  • Through their children, family and public health responsibilities, councils are pulling out all the stops to give children and young people high quality mental health support. As a result of funding reductions, many councils are being forced to cut vital early intervention work which helps children avoid reaching crisis point.  
  • Councils face a £8 billion overall shortfall by 2025. A range of services that contribute to the wider determinants of mental health are significantly underfunded, these include housing, leisure, green spaces, and culture. This makes it more difficult to promote mental wellness within communities.
  • The government’s children’s services Early Intervention Grant has been reduced by almost £600 million since 2013 and is projected to decrease by almost £100 million more by 2020. Councils’ public health budgets, which fund school nurses and public mental health services, have been reduced by £700 million from 2015/16 to 2019/20. Councils and schools need to be given funding to offer independent mental health counselling so children have access to support as and when they need it.
  • 75 per cent of young people experiencing a mental health problem either cannot access treatment or their health deteriorates whilst they are waiting. Intervening early to help prevent issues from escalating can dramatically improve an individual’s life chances and save money in the longer term.
  • The LGA’s Bright Futures campaign highlights the incredible early intervention and prevention work that councils across the country are doing to support our children and young people. The campaign draws on the powerful personal stories of some young people battling mental disorders, including eating disorders.