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Increase in child mental health referrals

Report finds substantial increase in child mental health referrals – where do we go from here?

As Education law solicitors we work with many parents who have experienced significant delays with obtaining support for their children who are suffering from mental health conditions.

Society today places an extreme amount of pressure on young people to be “normal” and to achieve in line with their peers. If for some reason they cannot do so, perhaps because they have a specific learning difficulty or a condition such as Autistic Spectrum Condition which makes accessing the mainstream curriculum more difficult for them, then this can lead to a drop in self esteem, confidence and ultimately with the young person suffering from anxiety. This anxiety can escalate to the extent where the young person may start to school refuse and even self harm. Without early intervention and specialist support these mental health conditions may take over a young person’s life and can have a devastating impact on the young person’s future and the family unit.

With waiting lists for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) growing every day and the specialist support in many cases unobtainable, unless the young person meets extremely high thresholds, there are limited places for families to turn for support and treatment. There is also a huge gap in information and limited legal advice regarding CAMHS. 

CAMHS are overwhelmed with referrals as can be seen in this recent BBC article with “one in four referrals either rejected or deemed inappropriate for treatment.” So if a young person does not receive treatment or support from CAMHS where else can they turn to? BBC news report that “Some local authorities - 27 out of the 111 who responded to the FOI - said they had scrapped services related to the mental health and wellbeing of children over the last eight years”. Mental heath support for young people appears to be being reduced yet the demand is growing significantly. 

As SEN specialist solicitors we see daily the impact that mental health can have on a young person’s access to education. If your child is struggling to attend school or you feel they require specialist support in school to meet their needs, please do get in touch for further discussion with one of our education lawyers as to how we can assist 0333 202 7175 or