Demand for children’s mental health services is leading to increased waiting times in Barnsley, a committee heard

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Barnsley Council’s overview and scrutiny committee was told longer waiting times and demand put pressure on services that are working with young people in Barnsley.

A report to the meeting on children’s and young people’s mental health stated that Barnsley Mental Health Support Team (MHST) worked with all 11 secondary schools and all 77 primary schools in Barnsley.

This, an expert added, led to an increase in challenges the services have to face on a daily basis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jamie Wike, deputy place director, Barnsley Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “We are now working with all secondary and primary schools in Barnsley. (We’ve seen) a big increase in activity – 54 per cent increase seen last year.

Barnsley Town HallBarnsley Town Hall
Barnsley Town Hall

“There are some challenges, in terms of waiting times – the demand is creating increased waiting times – and challenges with recruitment.”

The report says that the service (MHST) now receives more than 100 referrals each calendar month.

This – coupled with issues surrounding recruitment – also resulted in an increase in waiting times to a point where the average waiting time for treatment is 3-6 months depending on what support is needed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When Cllr Sarah Tattersall asked on behalf of the Barnsley Youth Council what could be done to ensure all children in Barnsley could live a happy and healthy life, she was told support was available.

Teresa Brocklehurst, Public Health, Barnsley Council, told Cllr Tattersall that “there are a number of offers” for children and young people.

One of those is an emotional and wellbeing group and also an established emotional and wellbeing hub in the town centre.

There is also a counselling offer and a lot more, Ms Brocklehurst said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She added: “There was just so much to tell you about the positive things that are happening” in Barnsley.

Cllr Kevin Osborne asked if it was fair to say that there was a great demand for the services from areas that have more severe deprivation.

Lucy Hinchliffe, commissioning & transformation manager, South Yorkshire ICB, said they couldn’t confirm this.

She said they tailored support for “different needs” and have “different offers” for individuals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Brenda Eastwood asked about the available support for children and young people who self-harm.

The committee heard that a lot of work has been done around self-harm but it is still “a big issue in Barnsley”.

Training, for example, has been delivered to those who work with children so they can identify early warning signs.

During the meeting, Cllr Will Fielding noted that “there was a well-established and significant relationship between being LGBTQ+ and experiencing mental health issues” but the report didn’t include LGBTQ+ youth.

He was told that a support group was available and there were no waiting lists so “anyone can come”.