A report from the BBC has highlighted a sharp rise in the number of children being referred to specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Figures obtained by the NSPCC show an increase in referrals of more than a third since 2014, coupled with the worrying statistic that a third of those referred were declined help because they did not meet the CAMHS threshold.
These statistics follow on the back of last week’s damning report by the joint Education and Health Select Committee into the green paper on Transforming children and young people's mental health, which said the Government’s proposals to tackle the issue ‘lacks ambition and will provide no help to the majority of those children who desperately need it’.
With so many children unable to receive mental health support from CAMHS, BACP believes it is vital that children have access to a trained counsellor in their school to provide much needed support to those young people unable to access specialist services.
Of the 11,558 children and young people in Wales who received counselling services in 2016 to 2017, 85% did not need an onward referral after completing their sessions. This not only shows the value of the counselling but also its effects in reducing pressure on an often overstretched CAHMS.
Chair of BACP, Dr Andrew Reeves said:
“These worrying statistics are further evidence that much more support is urgently needed for our children and young people.
“Even if delivered, the Government’s current plans will only reach a quarter of the country by 2022 to 2023, which will do little to help the growing number of children already suffering with mental health problems and but unable to reach the threshold for help through CAMHS.
“The counselling workforce is already there, trained and willing to immediately start helping young people get the support they need and we urge the Government to invest in a counsellor in every school and college."