Health trusts failing to treat thousands of young people suffering from mental health

Hundreds of thousands of children a year are being denied essential mental health support because of a “chronic” shortage of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across England.

A freedom of information request, published by charity NSPCC, showed that 17 per cent of all referrals to CAMHS were rejected between 2015 and 2017.

This represents around 109,613 children – or around 150 per day.

The NSPCC said this figure is likely to be higher, as many of the trusts refused to disclose figures.

The freedom of information request also revealed a sporadic level of resources spread across the country, with waiting times from as little as two days to as long as five months.

Most experts agree that early intervention and getting the right treatment to young people suffering mental health problems is a priority for the Government.

Indeed, Prime Minister Theresa May said in January that mental illness “too often starts in childhood”, and when left untreated, “can blight lives, and become entrenched”.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: ”It is desperately sad to see so many young people facing distress around mental health issues being forced to wait months for assessment by CAMHS, many of whom are then rejected for treatment altogether. This risks leaving them in limbo while their condition potentially reaches crisis point.

“We recognise the hard work of mental health professionals in trying to help young people get their lives back on track.

“However, too many children who need help are struggling to access support and treatment which can help them to recover.

“The Government’s upcoming Green Paper on mental health must urgently evaluate the early support systems available to young people to ensure that no child is left to suffer in silence.”

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