- Data shows 53 percent increase in referrals of children to mental health services
Official figures show emergency mental health referrals for children have more than halved in three years.
Doctors warn that demand for care is now so high that many children cannot access help until they reach a “critical point”.
Data analyzed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows a 53 per cent increase in referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) crisis teams in England.
There were 32,521 referrals in 2022/23, compared to 21,242 in 2019/20.
The school warned that children could develop long-term illnesses, affecting their education, social development and health, without prompt treatment.
Data analyzed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows a 53 per cent increase in referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services crisis teams in England (File image)
Dr. Elaine Lockhart, is the president of the university’s children and adolescent faculty.
Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the university’s children and adolescents faculty, said: “It is unacceptable that so many children and young people reach crisis point before they can access care.” We cannot allow this to become the new norm.
‘Serious mental illness is not just an adult problem. The need for specialized mental health services for children and youth is constantly growing.’
The university said around half of mental health conditions emerge before the age of 14 and three-quarters before the age of 24.
But data shows that under-18s waiting for a follow-up after a referral from a GP for mental health problems have already waited on average five months and, in the worst cases, almost two years.
The university said many of these under-18s have suffered worsening mental health while on NHS waiting lists for treatment.
The RCP said last year’s government announcement of an additional £5 million to improve access to existing early support centers was welcome, but predicts an additional £125 million to £205 million will be needed to establish centers in each local authority. , with running costs of at least £114 million. one year.
Data shows that under-18s waiting for a follow-up after a referral from a GP for mental health problems have already waited an average of five months and, in the worst cases, almost two years (Image from archive)
A spokesperson for NHS England said: “The latest figures show the NHS is now treating more young people than ever before, and the Health Service is expanding mental health services as quickly as possible within the current five-year funding arrangements. years to help meet growing demand, with 44 per cent more children and young people accessing support since 2019/20.
“Early support for children and young people with mental health problems is a priority for the NHS.”