In Derby and Derbyshire there are 179,000 children. It is estimated that 23,000 have a diagnosable mental health condition. Only 30-35% of these children have access to any Mental Health service.
“Children and young people are able to achieve positive emotional health by having access to high quality, local provision, appropriate to their need, as well as a range of support enabling self-help, recovery and wellbeing.” (Derbyshire and Derby City Future in Mind Local Transformation Plan)
2 out of 3 children live with untreated mental health conditions!
The main service for mental health is run by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) (more details on this link), however this is struggling to keep up with demand.
Whilst urgent referrals are seen the same day, those that are more routine are now having to wait, on average, 21 weeks (Sep 2020) – the longest is 57 weeks. This average is up from 14 weeks in September 2019. The number of children waiting is 342, down from 432 a year ago. This reduction is likely to result from a combination of the drop off in referrals during the April -June lockdown period, and the implementation of Targetted Intervention.
Targetted Intervention was introduced in September 2019 to ease some of the pressure from the specialist NHS CAMHS team. This early intervention is provided by the charity Action for Children under the banner of “Build Sound Minds” (link contains more details and “how to refer”). The Covid restrictions have affected the 1 to 1 opportunities, however telephone and on-line contact options are now available. The waiting time for this service averages arond 7 weeks, despite there being excess capacity.
Whilst a lot of the referrals can be through schools, and GPs, the NHS Mental Health team continue to seek different ways to encourage people to access their services.
To supplement the 4 Mental Health Support Teams located in schools in Derbyshire, a further 2 will be launched in Derby (Spring 2021) at Noel-Baker and Bemrose with the specific objective of targetting those children from within the BAME communities, and/or from a deprived neighbourhood.
Untreated mental health conditions in so many children has the potential to lead to safeguarding issues, and more serious problems in the future. The indirect consequences of Covid-19 are likely to increase demand, thus increasing the waiting times, and the number going untreated.
The funding needs to be increased, beyond the ~3% pa to give the Mental Health teams the resources to make substantial progress….quicker.
The NHS ambition is that the % of children gaining access will increase to 50% by 2024 and 100% by 2030. This is far oo slow.
In the absence of the appropriate funding, any improvements will rely heavily on the inspiration, creativity and determination of the Mental Health teams throughout the County.
It doesn’t feel that this will be enough!
In the meantime, the emotional well-being of 65% of the children in the region is being compromised…with unknown consequences!
Categories: Special Educational Needs