According to statistics gathered by the NSPCC, the number of referrals made by English schools seeking mental health treatment for pupils has risen by more than a third in the last three years.
In the 2017/18 school year, 24,757 referrals were made to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), equating to 183 per school day. In the 2014/15 school year there were 25,440 referrals.
The statistics show that 55% of these referrals came from primary schools. However despite the dramatic rise in referrals being made, nearly a third of all referrals were refused specialist treatment. In some cases this was due to specialist treatment being unnecessary but for many other it was due to severe underfunding.
It is believed that the rise in the number of referrals is attributed both to the increasing awareness of teachers and a growing mental health crisis amongst young people in the UK.
Policy officer at the NSPCC, Alana Ryan said;
“It is worrying that there are so many children being deemed as needing some kind of mental health support and whether or not that is mental health support that meets the clinical support threshold, it’s still a need.”
At least 10% of children and young people suffer from a mental health issue, including anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders. The NSPCC’s Childline has reported a 26% increase in the number of counselling sessions related to mental health in the last four years, with many not receiving specialist help until they are at crisis point.
According to Ryan, two of the most frequent issues children speak about are exam pressures and social media. With this in mind, it is thought that the high number of primary school referrals could be a result of a lack of funding and services available to support children at a younger age.
The general consensus as to why so few children and young people are receiving the help and support they need is due to a lack of funding.
Founder and President of Childline, Esther Rantzen insists that Childline must be sufficiently funded so that “…it isn’t left vulnerable and can be there for the children who have nowhere else to turn.”
A government spokesperson said it would be investing an additional £300m to provide quicker support to children.
“We know we need to do more which is why we have extended out schools and NHS link pilot to deliver training in 20 more areas of the country this year,” they said “this will improve links between up to 1,200 schools and their local specialist mental health service.”
Duncan Lewis Mental Health Director and Solicitor, Rachel Caswell, has particular expertise in representing patients detained in adolescent Mental Health units at First Tier Tribunals and has significant experience in restricted mental health matters. She conducts her own advocacy and endeavours to represent her clients personally throughout proceedings. For expert mental health legal advice, contact Rachel on 0207 275 2793 and email@example.com.
Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors
Duncan Lewis is the largest provider of mental health legal aid in the UK and provides a specialist service to all those suffering with mental health problems detained under The Mental Health Act 1983.
We provide expert advice on matters relating to The Mental Health Act, including admission to hospital, consent to treatment and aftercare provisions as well as giving clear guidance on the nearest relative’s role and rights. Our solicitors have extensive experience challenging the decisions made in Tribunals and Primary Care Trusts, or the lawfulness of detention by way of judicial review, commissioning independent psychiatric and social circumstances reports and providing representation at Mental Health Review Tribunals.
To speak to a specialist Mental Health solicitor please call 0333 772 0409.