CHILDREN facing mental health concerns or drug and alcohol misuse problems look set to be seen quicker in an overhaul of services following criticism by a government watchdog.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive will next week consider pooling the authority’s resources with the county’s NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to deliver a school-based universal and targeted emotional wellbeing service.

The changes are viewed as important as it has been estimated there are 1,771 children in Harrogate and Rural District CCG, and 1,617 children in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG and 1,375 in Scarborough and Ryedale CCG between the ages of five and 16 with a mental health disorder.

Estimates from 2013 suggest that 7,395 children and young people aged 16 to 24 years in North Yorkshire had an eating disorder – which includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related conditions.

The move, which will see the emotional wellbeing and specialist substance misuse elements of the service separated, is in response to a Care Quality Commission mental health review in the county in 2017, which indicated a requirement for clearer entry points to emotional mental health support and a clear need for early intervention.

The report found variability in the service across the county, that it “could be experienced as uncoordinated. It also concluded teachers found it hard to access services and expressed concerns about how to manage behaviour needs and those who are awaiting autism diagnosis and that some young people felt bounced around services.

The executive meeting will hear the revamped services would help halt the “escalation of drug/alcohol related risk and harm and stopping young people from becoming substance misuse dependent adults”.

The report states investment into early intervention has proven effective in supporting children and young people, and in diverting referrals from specialist community mental health services.

Subject to the outcome of a consultation, it is proposed the new arrangement will begin in September.

A council spokesman said: “The proposal is likely to improve performance and outcomes, as there is likely to be a more integrated and coordinated approach in the system to meeting the emotional wellbeing needs of children and young people. It will address the need for clearer access points to emotional mental health support and a clear need for early intervention.”