Children’s emergency mental health referrals in England soar by 53%

NHS data shows that the number of children referred to emergency mental healthcare in England has soared by more than 50% in three years, laying bare the impact of lengthy waiting lists for regular NHS treatment.

There were 32,521 emergency and urgent referrals to child and adolescent mental health services crisis teams in 2022-23, analysis of official data by the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed. In 2019-20, the year before the Covid pandemic, the figure was 21,242.

The increase means more than 600 mentally ill children a week are deteriorating to such a state that they have reached crisis point.

Many of the children requiring emergency care – some suicidal or seriously ill as a result of eating disorders – have been stuck on waiting lists for an average of five months, and in the worst cases as long as two years, the college said.

Full story in The Guardian, 7 February 2024