In the news again is the shocking reality that although referrals to mental health services for children and young people continue to rise at an alarming rate, the resources to support these children and their families are greatly diminished. This article makes sobering reading and is well worth taking the time to look through:
According to research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), referrals to child and adolescent mental health services have increased over the last 5 years by 26%. “Radio 5 Live investigates” conducted an investigation using freedom of information requests. Using data received from 33 respondents it was found that mental health referrals for under 18’s increased from 157,000 in 2013-14 to 198,280 in 2017-18.
There are also strict criteria for children and young people to be eligible to access specialist therapeutic support, which adds further to the stress and anxiety being experienced if the referral does not meet the criteria. This article gives a clear illustration of this in the case of a young man now aged 22, who after experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks, attended an assessment with CAMHS and was told he could not be seen again for 40 weeks.
This was too long for him to wait, and his family sought help privately. It was actually two years after the initial assessment with no correspondence, that a call was received to say an appointment was available. On reflection the young man states “I don’t know if I would have coped if private support wasn’t there, I’m not sure I would be here today..”
Sadly for us at WE R HERE this is a very familiar story as we receive many enquiries each week from professional partners and concerned parents who are desperate to find appropriate specialist support for their children. Over the last eight years both in Nottinghamshire and across the country, we have seen cuts to projects both in schools and within our communities who were working at the early intervention stage to ensure that young people are given the help that they need to avoid crisis situations.
We must ensure for the sake of future generations that this approach is restored and that funding is directed towards these areas. At WE R HERE we continue to offer this level of specialist support but our resources are finite, as we receive no statutory funding and an ever increasing demand for the therapeutic support which we provide. Thank you so much to everyone who supports the work we do. For those people who attend our services each week it makes a life changing difference.
WE R HERE – Making a difference one life at a time.