Serious issue this and its no surprise to know that those with the least access are in rural settings. It tells us:

Children suffering anxiety, depression and other low-level mental health conditions face a postcode lottery when seeking treatment, research has shown.

There are wide disparities in spending per child in different parts of England with more than a third of areas seeing a real-terms fall in spending on these services. This is despite soaring demand and increased government funding for children’s mental health nationally, the study by the children’s commissioner for England found.

Experts said early intervention by school nurses, counsellors, drop-in centres or online support services to address low-level conditions can prevent them developing into more serious illnesses. And the report warned children may be losing out at this crucial point.

Researchers used spending data from local authorities and NHS clinical commissioning groups, which each contribute roughly half of funding, to calculate that local areas allocated £226m for low-level mental health services in 2018-19 – just over £14 per child.

But while local authority spending per child in London was £17.88, it was just £5.32 in the east of England. According to the study, a few very high-spending areas mask a larger proportion of low-spending areas.

The report’s findings showed the top 25% of local areas each spent upwards of £1.1m while the bottom 25% spent £177,000 or less. Spending per child was higher in London and the north-east, lower in the East Midlands, east of England and south-east. Urban areas were slightly better off than rural regions.

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