Except this comes from a number of angles because the impact is so widespread. And because this week it upset me because it upset my team.
Much has been written about the shortage of mental health provision. In truth it has felt this way my entire career. I’ve always felt unable to compare like with like because when I set out on my career I worked in London.
During the pre-austerity years, the need was so great in our criminal youth justice sector that I can’t imagine a scenario where provision would ever have been enough.
After a heart-breaking episode with an incredibly vulnerable young person this week, I realised that of all my management responses, getting her professional mental health support wasn’t really even on the list. And that’s because I knew it wouldn’t really be possible. It’s scarcely there now as an intervention we can call on.
And what does that mean for all those stretched services around the periphery of this young person’s line? It means we pick it up. With our own workloads, our own and different areas of expertise, our own fragilities and anxieties that we’ve probably not done enough.
My team are good enough. They are more than good enough. But an inadequacy of services makes them feel not so. And that’s not good enough. In that scenario it’s a race to the bottom and literally everyone loses – not least the young person who had just one stab at life and for whom right now it’s going horribly wrong.