Mental health services for children and young people are at
crisis point, according to an exclusive survey of social care
professionals working with children and families.
The survey of 1,500 care professionals was released this week at
the launch of Changing Minds, Community Care’s campaign to
improve mental health care services for children and young
It finds that almost four-fifths of those surveyed believe
existing services are in crisis, with 90 per cent stating that
there is insufficient information about services for young people
with mental health problems and their parents. Ninety-seven per
cent say services are under-resourced.
Almost a third of the care professionals who refer children to
specialist treatment services say they have to wait a month before
a place becomes available. A fifth of the young people referred to
specialist services are turned down for a service, and two-thirds
of these do not access any alternative services, such as
Family breakdown, poor parenting, parental drug and alcohol
misuse, and the lack of early intervention programmes are deemed to
be the main causes of young people’s mental health
Two-thirds of social care professionals feel that health
professionals are under-diagnosing mental health problems in
children and young people. Nearly four-fifths attribute this to
the lack of services available. Almost nine out of 10 link
untreated mental health problems with youth offending.
To tackle the crisis in mental health services for children and
young people, three-quarters of our survey respondents call for a
national strategy and more money for mental health services for
children and young people.
Just under four-fifths say the government should develop
specific community-based services for adolescents, 90 per cent say
more specialist child mental health social workers are needed, and
over 85 per cent say more therapeutic services for abused children
will prevent mental health problems.
An increase in early intervention and diagnosis programmes,
improved training, and more support for families of children with
mental health problems are also favoured.
The survey was conducted by NSM Research.
– If you want a briefing paper on the campaign, contact Zoe Hopkins
on 020 8652 4861 or e-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org For
further information about the campaign, go to www.community-care.co.uk
– The government to convene a task force on child and adolescent
mental health services to draw up a national strategy for
– The government to ensure ring-fenced resources for CAMHS.
– All preventive and social inclusion initiatives targeted at
children to prioritise mental health.
– Health, education, and social care agencies to work with
voluntary organisations to develop specific services for older
– Health, education, and social care agencies to agree to work
together to ensure sufficient, high quality services are available
to children and young people.
– Health and social care agencies to establish specific support
services for carers of children and young people.