Another story about the lack of help for troubled children (Sharp rise in acute medical beds occupied by children with nowhere else to go, 13 September) fills me with a sense of deja vu and despair. After 35 years in child protection and child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) as a social worker and then psychotherapist, I’ve seen the same story time and time again. A few weeks ago it was the crisis in local government children’s services, and in April the Royal College of Psychiatrists reported the risks children faced, with record waiting times for Camhs help.

But this was happening back in the 1980s when we were struggling with overwhelming demand for family support services to prevent child abuse and the deterioration of children’s mental health. Tory libertarian ideologues have succeeded in hollowing out state services, and presided over unnecessary austerity cuts that have proved a false economy. The result is that a generation of neglected children and disadvantaged families have developed much more serious, damaging and expensive chronic problems. Until the needs of our future citizens are acknowledged and supported, the inevitable consequences in antisocial behaviour, self-harm, suicides, declining school attainment and family trauma will continue.
Steven Walker
Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex

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