A national disgrace: NHS fails to treat child mental health

A whole generation of children is being failed by mental health services, say GPs who struggle to access specialist help for their patients.

GPs are finding their referrals increasingly batted back, with three in five of those made to specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) resulting in no treatment at all.

GPs report that local trusts are raising thresholds for care, with some only accepting patients who have attempted suicide or are experiencing symptoms of very serious mental illness. Cuts to mental health funding mean services have struggled to cope with a 40% increase in GP referrals since 2012. This has meant that young patients are being directed to local charities or school counsellors rather than receiving specialist care.

And this is all occurring as rates of suicide rise in the UK; it is now the leading cause of death among men aged 20 to 34 years.

The Government insists it is ploughing more investment into CAMHS but experts say it may be too little, too late to address a crisis that is causing significant suffering and storing up major problems for the future.

Full story in Pulse 4 July 2016