Children in some parts of the country are having to wait for six months before they are even assessed for a mental health condition, according to new research from the NSPCC.

Figures from 35 NHS Mental Health Trusts found the average waiting time between being a referral by a doctor to a mental health specialist and actually being assessed was as long as 26 weeks.

Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Officer of Self Help, said:

“It’s worrying that this kind of postcode lottery exists with the provision of specialist children’s mental health services. Large numbers of children, coping with the complex emotional and psychological difficulties, seek help through these services.

This situation needs to change because prevention and early intervention are vital in reducing the suffering young people experience.

The Government have committed 1.25 billion over five years to improve mental health services and we hope that provision improves on the ground as a result of this as soon as possible.

ChildLine’s latest annual report ‘Always There When I Need You’, states that the number of children reporting unhappiness and low self-esteem issues rose by 9% to 35,244 in 2014/15. The report shows that mental health remains a significant issue for children, with a young person contacting ChildLine every six minutes to discuss mental health worries.

The combination of this increased demand, the financial challenges faced by the NHS and the increasing complexity of conditions, means that the way tier three specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are delivered in our communities needs to change.

In response to this demand, we are currently seeking to expand our ‘Growing Minds’ offer that delivers a range of children and young people’s services to promote positive mental health and increased resilience among children and young people.”

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