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Waiting Times Having Devastating Effect on Vulnerable Children

YoungMinds says waiting times for mental health treatment could be having a devastating impact on vulnerable children and their families.

YoungMinds says waiting times for mental health treatment could be having a devastating impact on vulnerable children and their families.

New figures show some children and young people are waiting up to three years for mental health treatment. The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that services are struggling to meet the needs of their young patients.

Average Waiting Times

Waiting times for mental healthcare vary across the country. The figures for 2015-2016 show:

  • South London and Maudsley NHS Trust average waiting time from referral to assessment by CAMHS: 13.9 weeks
  • South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust average referral to treatment waiting time: 229 days (32 weeks), their longest wait being 1,114 days (three years)
  • Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust average waiting time: 13.5 weeks, with the longest waiting being 126 weeks
  • Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Trust average waiting time: 40 days (5.7 weeks) with the longest wait being 220 days (30 wks)
  • West London Mental Health NHS Trust average waiting time from referral to first treatment: 20.9 weeks, with the longest wait being 98 weeks
  • Birmingham and Solihul Mental Health NHS Trusts average waiting time from referral to first treatment: 33 days (4.5 weeks), with the longest wait being 186 days (26 weeks)

A Disastrous Effect

Nick Harrop, Media and Campaigns Manager for YoungMinds, said the long waiting-times can “have a devastating effect on vulnerable children and their families.”

Without treatment, children are more likely to self-harm or become suicidal, to be violent and aggressive, or to drop out of school, which can ruin their prospects for the future.

"Delays can also have a disastrous effect on families, with parents forced to leave their jobs to look after their children.

Many local authorities have repeatedly had their budgets slashed on things like social workers, support programmes for parents, educational psychologists and targeted mental health services in schools.”

This has put a huge burden on services further up the chain, which simply can’t cope with the demand.”

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