Cancellations of appointments for vulnerable patients made by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in England have increased by 25% in the last year, according to the mental health charity, Mind.
There has been a surge of data recently showing that children and teenagers aren’t receiving proper support for mental health issues. In a survey of 1000 healthcare professionals, Mind revealed that more than half of those surveyed reported that waiting times for mental health services for children had been a barrier to these under-18s receiving adequate support in the last six months. Earlier this year, Mind also reported that three in five young people reported either experiencing a mental health problem or being close to someone who had, but only a quarter of young people that need treatment are able to access it.
Vicki Nash, the head of policy and campaigns for Mind, commented on the trend, saying, ‘it is deeply concerning that the number of cancelled appointments continues to rise, even in proportion to the increase in appointments. As demand grows under-supported staff are leaving in droves, and this can impact the gaps between appointments and chances of cancellation’.
Recently, the NHS announced its plan to launch a new taskforce aimed at improving mental health services for under-18s. The taskforce is intended to contribute to achieving the goals outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, part of which is to invest £2.3 billion in funding for community mental health services. However, Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, believes that the best results would be achieved if mental health problems in young people were addressed in a different way: ‘The next government must ensure service improvements through investment in the NHS, but also make sure that young people can get help when they first need it, whether that’s through youth clubs, drop-in centres, local charities, schools, or online. We urgently need a new strategy that makes prevention and early intervention a priority’.