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Children’s mental health: do you know how much services cost?

March 26, 2015

Extra funding for an expansion of children’s mental health services

curtis-lesley-90x135by Lesley Curtis

Children’s mental health is in the news with the announcement that funding is to be provided for a major expansion of mental health services for children and those suffering from maternal mental illness. In addition, a report of the work of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce has just been launched, and both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties are pledging to increase the proportion of children’s mental health funding.

As a result, commissioners and service providers will need to ensure that the additional money is well spent. They will need to know not only which therapies are effective and for which children, but will also need to keep a close eye on their unit costs.

Children’s Services in the UCHSC

Chapter six of the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care publication is devoted to children’s services. It includes just the sorts of therapies which have been mentioned in the Liberal Democrat’s announcement. For example, Nick Clegg promised that children and young people with conditions such as depression or anxiety, who self-harm or are at risk of suicide will now get access to more therapy and parenting support. The Unit Costs of Health and Social Care shows the full nationally-applicable costs for a session of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) specially tailored to treat adolescents provided by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. It also sets out the costs of both parenting programmes for the prevention of persistent conduct disorder (group delivery and one to one delivery) and parent training interventions for parents of disabled children with sleep or behavioural problems.

Mr Clegg has also stated that funding will be allocated to services for young children with autism and learning disabilities. In section eight of the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care, we show the costs associated with pre-school children with autism as well as older children with low or high-functioning autism (see example table below).

Average annual cost per child with high functioning ASD, 2014 prices

 
Living in private household with family
Ages 0-3
Ages 4-11
Ages 12-17
Hospital services
-
£867
£867
Other health and social services
£1,355
£1,355
£1,355
Respite care
-
£7,266
£7,266
Special education
-
£13,036
£13,036
Education support
-
£608
£608
Treatments
-
£165
£165
Help from voluntary organisations
-
-
-
Benefits
£523
£523
£523
Lost employment (parents)
-
£241
£241
Total annual cost (excluding benefits)
£1,355
£23,539
£23,539
Total annual cost (including benefits)
£1,878
£24,062
£24,062

The Unit Costs and Health and Social Care report

uc-2014-coverFor those who are not familiar with the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care, this publication provides a wealth of unit cost information on a wide range of services and therapies for various client groups. A previous post discusses details of the publication, some valuable background about methods, the types of unit costs we provide and information on who uses these unit costs. Given the number of times the publication is referenced (for example, in nearly 70% of English cost evaluations) and the growing number of people downloading it (estimated at over 11,000 in 2014), we know that the publication is widely used and valued.

Further useful information: