Access to children and young people’s mental health services – 2018

This report by the UK think tank Education Policy Institute assesses the state of children’s mental health services in England in 2018.

The research examines access to specialist services, waiting times for treatment, and provision for those children that are not able to receive treatment. The report uses Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to providers of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and local authorities in England. The report finds that the number of children referred to mental health services has risen by a quarter over 5 years: a rise of 26 per cent. It also finds that as many as 1 in 4 children referred to specialist CAMHS in England were turned away, while a quarter of local authorities have phased out vital support services, including school-based mental health services, family counselling and support for those living with domestic abuse. Examining average waiting times for treatment, the report finds that these have fallen – yet they remain twice as long as the government’s new standard outlined in its mental health green paper. The report highlights how CAMHS data is often inconsistent and inaccessible, with many providers failing to produce basic information on services. It calls on the government to urgently enforce better accountability measures for reporting data on children’s mental health.

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