‘Unacceptable’ for children to reach crisis point before accessing mental health support

Jeremy Hunt has branded as “totally unacceptable” reports that head teachers have had to prove children had attempted suicide before they could be treated by mental health services.

The Health Secretary said the Government was trying to end “the terrible situation where people are told that you’re not ill enough yet to get treatment”.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) are under huge pressure, with the Care Quality Commission recently saying too many children and young people find themselves at “crisis point” before accessing services.

Labour’s Ruth George (High Peak) raised the issue at health questions, saying: “In my constituency, head teachers tell me that they are asked by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to prove that children have tried to commit suicide before Camhs are prepared to accept a referral.

“The minister has just admitted that less than half of children who are referred are treated, and that under their plans less than two-thirds will get treatment, but there is so much rationing going on.

“Will the Secretary of State please commit to improving now the amount of ring-fenced funding?”

Mr Hunt said: “That is totally unacceptable and that is why we announced a £300 million expansion of Camhs in the autumn, and last year Camhs funding went up by 20%.

“What we are specifically trying to end is precisely what she talked about, which is the terrible situation where people are told that you’re not ill enough yet to get treatment, and we have to put a stop to that.”

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