“It is notable how intervention at an early stage for young people suffering from mental health issues can make a huge difference to their own lives in the future. The appointment of new mental health workers in the community would allow these young people faster access to the care that they need” Dr Anthony Bond, Whittlesey GP
Currently 65% of children in North East Cambridgeshire wait longer than 18 weeks for a referral appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist. This is particularly troubling as the delay comes at a formative time for teenagers already dealing with changes from adolescence.
Minor problems at this stage in life can quickly escalate into more serious problems such as self-harm or suicide, or impact on future life changes such as damaging exam results and career prospects. With fewer school nurses offering pastoral care, it is more important that serious cases can be seen quickly
In addition, the delay in mental health support is also illogical from a financial perspective. The lack of mental health support funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group results in more patients being admitted to specialist hospitals for inpatient mental health care, which is significantly more expensive. This hospital care is funded by NHS England.
CAMH is the organisation which delivers mental health services to children locally. It has just five members of staff, which is insufficient for the current demand. Funding is now urgently needed to ensure CAMH recruit two new staff to provide mental health support to local children without the current wait of over eighteen weeks experienced by the majority of patients.
We call on Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group to prioritise the appointment of two new mental health workers for CAMH.