A quarter of CAMHS referrals are rejected

More than 55,000 children were refused mental health treatment in 2017/18 as providers of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) rejected as many as one in four referrals.

Not meeting the threshold for treatment was the most common reason for rejection. However, among those rejected were children who had self-harmed or experienced abuse.

And these figures – revealed in a report published on Sunday (October 7) – are likely to be much higher in reality because a number of CAMHS providers did not disclose their referral numbers to researchers.

The report, published by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), also warns that many providers do not follow up with those children rejected for treatment and so the outcomes are “often unknown”.

The report’s findings are based on the results of Freedom of Information requests to CAMHS providers in England. Of 60 requests, 54 responses were received, although some “disclosed information selectively” and with “incomplete data”. Requests were also sent to all 152 local authorities, with 111 responses being returned.

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