Children having to wait “up to 18 months” to receive mental health care

Children under the age of 18 are waiting more than a year to be treated for mental health problems, according to a soon-to-be-published Government report.

The report, authored by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), looks into how delays to mental health treatment are damaging for young people suffering with anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.

It revealed that those under the age of 18 are having to wait up to 18 months to be treated – although the support they do receive is “caring”.

It will indicate that young people face difficulties receiving treatment after they have been referred by a teacher or a GP.

The charity Young Minds said the delays are potentially causing young people to harm themselves or drop out of education, while others may have difficulty forming or maintaining relationships.

It added that one in five children referred to treatment in England cannot be seen as the resources in child and mental health services are just not there.

Jo Hardy, the head of parent services at Young Minds, said: “Improvements have been happening in some areas, but we regularly hear from parents who can’t get a referral, with their GP telling them to seek a referral via their school and vice versa. We also hear from parents who have been waiting for months for an initial assessment, and whose children’s conditions have got worse during that time.

“Some parents tell us that their children have started to self-harm during the wait or that they’ve dropped out of school, which not only has a big impact on their own education, but also means that one of the parents has to give up their job to look after them.

“We hear from parents who’ve separated because of the pressure the wait is putting on the whole family, or who talk about the damaging effect it’s having on their other children.”

The report is due to be published this coming Friday (27/10/17).

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