Kids in Crisis?, TV review: A heartbreaking look at how cuts are hitting young people with mental health problems

The Channel 4 programme focused on the problem of young people being separated from their families due to lack of provision in their area

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The Independent Culture

The Tories might have pledged to invest £1.25bn on children's mental health services, but, as the families featured in powerful documentary Kids in Crisis? showed, rhetoric means nothing if money isn't going to the right places.

We heard from children, parents and mental health workers on the problem of young people being separated from their families due to lack of provision in their area.

There was Chloe, 17, from Cornwall, who ended up in a secure unit in Kent. "We're the lucky ones that our daughter's getting good treatment, but it has to be 300 miles away," said her father, Pol, in an admirable display of stoicism. Chloe's location meant a Cornish healthcare professional had to travel to assess her, at the cost of the NHS or local council. Thirteen-year-old Oli and his family were also victims of the southwest paucity. "It feels like a ticking time bomb for us at the moment," said mum Sharon over very real fears her son might get sent for treatment in another county.

 

Fifteen-year-old Beth's local psychiatric unit in Hull was closed because of government restructuring, so she was sent 120 miles away and in the past 10 months has moved 14 times. All the travelling had led to mum Kathy giving up her job and the family home getting repossessed. Watching Beth's little brother hug and kiss the phone in an attempt to feel closer to his sister was heart-breaking.

The families were given space to tell their own stories and these needed no dramatising, with a simple score and sparse voiceover delivering the cold, hard facts.

Beth's local MP, Alan Johnson, read out a letter in Parliament from her imploring for change. Hopefully, programmes like this will only help to force it.


@sally_newall

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