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10 Jan 2020

One in four children seeking mental health support rejected for treatment

More than a quarter of children referred to mental health services are being denied help despite extra government funding to improve access, according to latest figures from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Those being turned away include young people who are self-harming, have an eating disorder or have experienced abuse, according to analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) of Freedom of Information (FOI) Act responses from CAMHS teams.

This proportion of children being turned away for support comes despite an extra £1.4bn being spent by the government over the last five years on improving mental health access for young people.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments:

“It is deeply troubling that despite the increase in government funding for mental health services, the number of children deemed ill enough to need help who have been turned away has increased from 50,000 to more than 130,000 in just two years.

“Children and teenagers who need treatment but are denied it risk long-term mental illness: two-thirds of all mental health problems start before adulthood. It not only makes humane but economic sense to intervene early, when there is a greater chance of prevention and recovery. What is happening now is nothing less than a betrayal of a generation.”

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