Charity wants major reforms to child mental health support


Barnardo's Scotland has produced a new report which highlights the reasons why young people are being rejected for specialist support

25th June 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Major reform is needed to ensure young people receive vital mental health support, a children’s charity has claimed.

Barnardo’s Scotland is calling for fundamental changes to the support available for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The call is made in a report published on Monday 25 June by the charity which highlights the need for alternative provision for those children and young people who do not meet the thresholds or criteria for specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

In March of last year, Barnardo’s called for a review of the number of children and young people who are not accepted for treatment by CAMHS.  

The report, Audit of rejected referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Scotland,  highlights five key reasons why children and young people may have experienced a rejected referral.

The reasons highlighted are: lack of stability, lack of engagement, symptoms not being defined as severe enough, lack of clarity around referral criteria, and children being rejected as they are considered to already be receiving support from another organisation.

Jacqui Thompson, children’s service manager for the charity’s 16+ Edinburgh service, said: “The children and young people in our services have often experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and will not be presenting as stable, too often this means they are unable to access specialist mental health services despite having very high levels of need.”

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “This report starkly highlights the gaps in provision for children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties. Our practitioners told us that the current system does not allow the children and young people we work with to get timely and appropriate support for their mental health.

“We would like to see the development of consistent criteria and assessment processes, as well as clarification for all families and professionals about the role, scope and remit of specialist CAMHS.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "We welcome Barnardo’s consideration of child and adolescent mental health and their recommendations.

“We will publish the results of the rejected referrals audit we commissioned from SAMH this week and both reports will play a part in the next steps we take to reshape and improve our services.”