Children face 18 month wait for mental health care

The Guardian provides coverage of a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) which warns that long delays for treatment are damaging the health of young people with anxiety, depression and other conditions. They found that children with mental health problems are waiting up for 18-months to be treated, with many experiencing difficulties accessing services once they are referred by their GP or a teacher at their school. 

The report says many child and adolescent mental health service units struggled to cope because of rising demand, low levels of staffing, and shortages of beds. The review of services comes ahead of the publishing of the Government’s green paper on children’s mental health.

Commenting on the report, Dr Bernadka Dubicka, a psychiatrist and chair of the child and adolescent faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Although there has been some additional investment, money is not reaching the frontline, demand is increasing and children are being pushed into crises. Every day children and young people are being let down by the current inadequate provision across the system.”

Jo Hardy, 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.”

The full story can be read on the Guardian website.