(UK) "Soaring demand" for mental health services means some children turned away

June 30, 2018, (UK) Times: Children are turned away from mental health help—Scots health secretary calls system unacceptable Young people with mental health problems are being turned away by the NHS on the basis that they have not yet attempted suicide, an investigation has revealed. Research ordered by Scottish ministers into referrals to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) showed that thousands of patients were being rejected as services struggled to cope with soaring demand…. One parent spoken to as part of the inquiry was told that a child who had anxiety and was self-harming was denied support because the self-harming “wasn’t serious enough”. They were told to try to secure an appointment “if things get worse”. … Jeane Freeman, the new health secretary, said the current system for rejecting referrals is “completely unacceptable”. She announced £5 million [$6.6M US] of funding for a new taskforce. “Demand on mental health services is growing but far too many young people are being turned away from help or waiting too long to be seen. This report finds that while CAMHS may not be the right path for some of those referred, young people are being rejected from treatment without proper explanation or being directed to more appropriate care,” she said…. …They include reviewing a system which places cases into different categories depending on their severity and considering the introduction of schools-based mental health services. Demand for children’s mental health services has risen by about 20 per cent in three years. Last year, 7,266 referrals, about one in five, were rejected. Most decisions are taken quickly on the basis of a paper referral, rather than after an in-depth consultation in person, it was found…. As demand for services has increased, health boards have come under increasing financial pressure…. It was found that the vast majority of referrals to specialist mental health services were made by GPs, with others coming from school nurses, teachers or hospitals. Anxiety, depression or low mood, self-harming and suicide ideation were the most common reasons….