Rise in school referrals for child mental health treatment


According to a Freedom of Information request sent out to NHS trusts by children's charity NSPCC, 292 pupils in Lincolnshire schools were referred to CAMHS (NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) a year ago.

The number of children in London and the south east referred for mental health treatment by their schools has risen by more than a fifth in the past three years, to 48,000.

It says community and voluntary services such as Childline are picking up the pieces in many cases and the government must plough more cash into them. On top of that, 82% also revealed they faced high levels of stress at some point in a regular week and eight percent "that felt stressed all the time". This includes new mental health support teams to provide trained mental health workers to work closely with schools -including primary schools - to provide quicker support to children.

According to the data, there were 123,713 referrals made by education settings seeking professional mental health help between 2014/15 and 2017/18.

Almost three out of five (57 per cent) of those who said a colleague or employee had spoken to them about a mental health issue were "glad they could confide in me", but one in four admitted they felt uninformed, 21 per cent said they felt embarrassed and a further 17 per cent did not feel equipped to know what to do or say.

"When children come through to us, they speak about things like exam pressures, social media and not being able to get into specialist services, asking that we intervene on their behalf", said Ryan.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said members had reported a surge in the number of patients with emotional and behavioural difficulties, often after being rejected by Camhs.

'But only a system-wide overhaul of agencies concerned with children's mental health will allow us to identify children developing mental health problems (including behavioural disorders) and allow for assessment of need and appropriate multi-agency support, thus preventing them from getting to crisis point. "Giving employees support and a positive psychosocial work environment has a proven impact on productivity and means that employees embrace the challenges of work with more energy and commitment", he said.

The charity is now calling upon the government with their 'Are You There?' campaign to invest some of this funding into early support services for children.

Esther Rantzen, the Childline founder and president said: "We must make sure that Childline is adequately funded so it isn't left vulnerable and can be there for the children who have nowhere else to turn".

"Many of us can feel like we need to wear a mask and pretend that we are going when we're not". "This will improve links between up to 1,200 schools and their local specialist mental health service".