A new report from the Children’s Commissioner which looked at mental health services in England has placed Sheffield near the bottom for the third time.
It found that Sheffield’s young people waited an average of 67 days to receive help, while 30% of referrals were closed before treatment.
The report also found that compared to other places, such as South Tyneside, Sheffield is spending far less on mental health services, as little as £37 per child.
Jo Green, from the Children’s Commissioner’s office, said: “A system that puts prevention higher up on the agenda would also likely see fewer people needing to access CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services), which would impact on waiting times and put less pressure on referrals.”
This news follows a recent report from NHS Digital, which found that one in eight children and young people aged between five and 19 had a mental disorder in 2017.
Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People’s Board, said the findings show that there is an urgent need for an overhaul of children’s mental health services.
She said the NHS needs to work with councils to develop a system that says yes, rather than no, to children when they ask for help.
Nationally, the report found that services are improving in most areas in the country, but of the 338,000 children referred to CAMHS last year, only 31% received treatment within the year.
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, is also calling for every school to have an NHS councillor available for pupils, and for an expansion of specialist treatment services for children.
“There is still a vast gap between what is provided for children suffering from mental health problems, and what is needed to treat them.
“By 2023, the NHS should be in a position to ensure no child who needs help is turned away.”