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UK children turned away from mental health services

1 June 2016

UK children turned away from mental health services

More than a quarter of UK Children suffering from severe to mild mental health problems were turned away from clinics in 2015, reports say. 

A review by the Children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, revealed from 48 children’s mental health services that 28% of appointments were turned away from specific treatment as their illness was deemed to be not serious enough. These children were suffering from life threatening symptoms such as, self-harm, psychosis and anorexia nervosa.

Those who gained a treatment place were told to wait up to 100 days until being seen by a professional.

 Anne Longfeild said "I don't yet know quite why they are being turned away, but certainly being turned away or put on a waiting list for up to six months is clearly playing Russian roulette with their health," and that she has been hearing from a “constant stream of children, parents and professionals" that could not get help.

Sarah Brennan, an employee at the mental health charity, Young Minds, said: "Services have been cut and young people had nowhere to go.

"They are then more ill when they get help so services have become overwhelmed... Six months for a young person is huge and in that time most young people are becoming more ill."

The Conservative chair for the all-party group on mental health, James Morris, agreed and said that a "fundamental transformation" was needed.  

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