Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services

New report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines new data on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face. 

This report shows that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment. Little progress has been made in reducing the high proportion of young people who are not accepted into specialist services despite having been referred by a concerned GP or teacher. While in some areas good quality early intervention services are in place to help these young people, these are not consistently provided across the country.

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Image source: epi.org.uk

When referrals are accepted, young people in many areas are still waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment. The case for national waiting time standards to be put in place is therefore strong. Some progress is, however, being made in reducing waiting times to treatment, which may be due to the additional funding earmarked for children’s mental health services.

Full report: Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services | Emily Frith | Education Policy Institute

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Mental health support for young people leaving care

Neglected Minds: A report on mental health support for younger people leaving care | Barnardo’s   

This report highlights that two thirds of care leavers identified as having mental health needs were not receiving any help from a statutory service. It also found that one in four had faced a mental health crisis since leaving care.

Barnardo’s wants clinical commissioning groups to invest more in services specifically aimed at meeting the needs of young people leaving care, such as embedding a mental health worker within leaving care teams.   

The full report can be downloaded here

Transitional Services for Teens and Young Adults With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A Process Map and Proposed Model to Overcoming Barriers to Care | Journal of Pediatric Psychology

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Objective: To provide a topical review of the personal vulnerabilities and systemic barriers facing transitional age young adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), followed by a proposed model for overcoming those barriers.

Methods: Drawing from a growing, but limited, literature on the topic, we outline a process map for identifying and troubleshooting barriers to care in this at-risk population.

Results: Young adults with ADHD frequently lack the organizational skills, time management, prioritization, and persistence to manage their health care at an expected level of adult independence. These difficulties are compounded by a health-care system that has less time or fewer resources for supporting young adult patients.

Conclusions: Recommendations for easing the transition from pediatric to adult care for late adolescents with ADHD include heavily leveraging the doctor–patient relationship, and capturing the young adult’s attention through technologies that already absorb them.

Full reference: Fogler, J.M. et al. (2017) Topical Review: Transitional Services for Teens and Young Adults With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Process Map and Proposed Model to Overcoming Barriers to Care. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Published online: 01 August 2017

A healthy State of mind: Improving young people’s mental fitness

This report argues for reform of the mental health system to provide greater support for the majority of young people who will not receive treatment from specialist CAMHS whilst ensuring that those in desperate need of clinical intervention receive immediate help | Localis

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The current mental health system is failing children and young people. Whilst in almost all areas of health and care reform the dominant trend is to encourage people to be more independent and resilient, in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), something has gone badly wrong.

There is a current tendency for many young people to not register on the radar when they try to deal with their problems. Instead of receiving sustained support for their mental health, they bounce around different tiers of services without sustained support. Even after being treated for severe mental health difficulties they often again fall off the radar until they reach another crisis. There needs to be a better focus on addressing the challenges that young people face in their mental wellbeing or, as we prefer, mental fitness, rather than solely concentrating on the presence of clinically diagnosable mental health disorders. Such a focus would provide agency for young people to – with the support of the wider community – better develop resilience before the involvement of specialist services whilst ensuring that those with severe mental health needs are provided with immediate specialist support.

Teenagers turned away by overstretched health services resort to drastic action to get help

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Funding cuts to mental health services have made thresholds for treatment so high that young people are risking their lives in desperate bids to get help, according to the Times Educational Supplement. The article goes on to say that stretched children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are driving growing numbers of pupils to make what look like suicide attempts just so they can have their mental illness treated.

A survey conducted by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner showed that, of all pupils referred to CAMHS in 2015 (the latest figures available), only 14 per cent were able to access the service immediately.

Meanwhile, 28 per cent of those referred were not allocated a service at all. In some areas, this figure was as high as 75 per cent.

Read the full article: Pupils risking their lives as mental health services collapse

New data shows work needed to hit eating disorder treatment standard

More than a third of children with urgent eating disorders are not beginning treatment within a week as required under a new standard, NHS England data has revealed | HSJ

  • New data shows two-thirds of children and young people with an urgent eating disorder had treatment within a week
  • NHS England data also shows nearly three-quarters of routine eating disorder referrals began treatment within four weeks
  • The data is the first published on children and young people’s eating disorders
  • NHS is expected to treat 95 per cent of urgent cases within a week and 95 per cent of routine cases within four weeks by 2020-21

Rad the full article here

Delivering mental health transformation

This report focuses on progress and challenges in improving children and young people’s mental health services in England, particularly for minority or vulnerable groups. | National Children’s Bureau (NCB)

This report is based on the views of 49 professionals working with children and young people, primarily from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) who responded to an online survey in autumn 2016.

NCB were funded by the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England to gather information from the sector on what needs to happen for the Government’s vision for improved mental health services to be realised for all children, particularly those who are vulnerable, have poorly understood needs, or who face particular challenges accessing the support they need. The information was primarily gathered via an online survey.

The report shares concerns raised by the sector about the system not meeting demand. This relates not just to waiting lists but the amount of time services are able to dedicate to each service user.

Full report: Delivering mental health transformation for all children Findings from engagement with the children and young people’s voluntary sector in Autumn 2016.