Almost 700 Sheffield children and teenagers on the waiting list for a first appointment with mental health services
Almost 700 children and teenagers in Sheffield are on the waiting list for a first appointment with mental health services.
There has been an almost 50 per cent increase in demand for community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
And there’s been a 60 per cent increase in the number of referrals accepted when compared to 2018/19.
Waiting times are improving but council officers say there continues to be “challenges” in providing a crisis response to young people who are acutely unwell.
As of the end of December, there were 699 children and young people on the waiting list for a community CAMHS first appointment, though many will have an appointment arranged.
If someone is clinically urgent and deemed high risk, they are seen within two weeks.
In Sheffield 73 per cent of young people are seen within 18 weeks for a first assessment - the national average is 79 per cent.
Council officers say access and waiting times are important and are monitored carefully.
CAMHS hold a weekly tracker meeting to review patients and escalates the young people at greatest risk.
There is a new six week treatment to help improve waiting times and therapeutic support and Sheffield Children’s Hospital has recruited extra staff to provide additional clinical support.
Officers say the increased demand reflects a national picture. Sheffield also has the Healthy Minds programme, an early intervention to spot issues as soon as possible which is being rolled out across all primary and secondary schools.
A council report says: “We would expect as a result, and due to increased awareness of emotional wellbeing and mental health, to find that demand increases for services.
“We have developed a robust early intervention response to emotional wellbeing and mental health which was clearly a gap previously.
“Demand is increasing and our focus is supporting young people to access the right services at the right time.
“We are making progress in making changes, however significant challenges remain and it will take time to deliver. There continues to be challenges to providing a crisis response to those young people who are acutely unwell.”