New statistics reveal that over a quarter of a million children and young people are still waiting for mental health support after being referred to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS) in 2022-23, also known as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Figures sourced from NHS England reveal in 2022-23, nearly one million children and young people (949,200) were referred; equal to 8% of the 11.9 million children in England.

The annual report on children’s mental health found that while approximately 32% (305,000) of children and young people received support, 28% (270,300) were still waiting for support and 39% (372,800) had their referral closed before accessing support.

This month the Children’s Commissioner for England published their report, Children’s Mental Health Services 2022-23, revealing that waiting times for mental health support continue to vary significantly. For the 32% who accessed support, the average waiting time was 35 days, but in the last year nearly 40,000 children experienced a wait over two years.

The report revealed that the most-commonly known referral reasons for children and young people were anxiety, followed by reaching crisis.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, highlighted that this generation of children have faced uncertain and challenging times like no other generation before them and it’s unsurprising that so many children and young people continue to experience issues with their mental health.

The Children’s Commissioner is calling for a bold 10-year plan to ensure fewer children experience mental ill-health; reduced waiting times for mental health services; support for children who do not reach the threshold for CAMHS; and reforms to the Mental Health Act to decrease the number of children being inappropriately detained and restrained in mental health hospitals.

It is clear from the report that the demand for children’s mental health services continues to outstrip the availability of support.

Here at Farleys, we have represented a number of families where their loved ones have died whilst under the care of CAMHS, including a recent inquest where the Coroner found that the care he received by CAMHS contributed to his death. Max struggled with mental ill health and regularly told his CAMHS case manager that he was thinking about suicide. The Coroner endorsed the conclusion of the Trust investigator that there were 13 failures with Max’s care. You can read more about his inquest here.

Sadly, we find that we are instructed on a growing number of inquests involving mental health care across the country. The focus on mental health is becoming more apparent in inquests and we are seeing longer inquest listings with increased scrutiny into mental health services. You can read more about the support we can provide for deaths involving mental health treatment here.

An inquest can be very daunting for the family following the loss of a loved one. Our expert inquests team can guide you through the process. We can advise on legal aid funding for inquest and also for bringing a claim for compensation after the inquest.

For more information to discuss representation, please call us on 0845 287 0939, contact us by email, or use the online chat below.