Up to half of all children and teenagers referred to mental health, learning disability and autism services in the run-up to the pandemic were left without proper support, with parents telling the Observer of children waiting years for treatment and a seven-year-old girl denied support as she was not suicidal.
Data published by NHS Digital shows that in 2019-20 – the most recent figures available – 23% of the 547,590 under-18s referred to NHS mental health, learning disability and autism services had no contact from health workers to deliver care, nor meetings between health workers to support their care. Another 26% – 144,384 people – had their referrals closed without receiving treatment. Some were told they needed social care instead, or passed on to charities, with others simply refused care as local services lacked sufficient capacity.
The pandemic has seen a rise in demand for young people’s mental health services. It was revealed last week that referrals rose by a third in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.
Mental health minister Nadine Dorries recently tweeted that “we lead the world in the delivery of [mental health] services” and “we are not in the middle of a MH crisis” after a deluge of parents described their negative experiences of CAMHS.
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Source: The Observer, 18th July 2021