Mental health beds for young people in Bristol to triple

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Bristol is to increase the number of beds and services for young people with mental health issues

The number of mental health beds in Bristol for young people is to be tripled, the BBC understands.

There are currently nine beds at the Riverside adolescent unit but from March there will be 32 spaces provided in the city.

The beds, which cost £550 a day, will be split between psychiatric intensive care and acute care.

The mother of a teenager who could not be treated in Bristol and later took her own life welcomed the news.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Becky Romero had suffered from mental health problems throughout her childhood

Her mother Nicola said: "A lot more kids are going to get help... It's not enough but it's a really good start.

"It's too late for us, but for all those kids out there that need this help hopefully they can get it."

She will take part in a protest march in Bristol on Saturday calling for better resources and understanding of mental health issues in young people.

'Last resort'

A spokesman for NHS England said: "Beds are really important but hospital care should be a last resort - prevention and early intervention work is vital."

He added that since Becky's death the number of staff managing inpatients needing mental health treatment will also increase and additional beds for young people with eating disorders in the South West will be commissioned.

NHS England said funding for the new beds would not be taken from other services.

It has also allocated an additional £250,000 to expand a specialist team working with GPs and A&E departments to intervene if children and young people are having an urgent mental health crisis.

A project to train teachers across Bristol to identify the early signs of pupils' poor mental health is also being expanded.

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