The organization's data shows that more and more troubled children have appointments with NHS mental health services.
Figures obtained by Mind's charity for mental health reveal that CAMHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Services) in England has canceled 175,094 appointments with vulnerable patients between August 2018 and July 2019.
This represents 25% more than the 140,327 canceled during the same period in 2017-2018.
Experts believe that the trend is due to the shortage of staff and the increasing demand for help for young people suffering from anxiety, depression and other conditions.
Although under-18s with mental health issues may withdraw from scheduled sessions, the proportion of canceled appointments by a CAMHS provider has increased as a percentage of all appointments over one year, from 3.3% in 2017-18 to 3.7% last year – one out of 27 consultations.
Mind said that the upward trend was very worrying, especially since some appointments were with young people who were hurting themselves or had suicidal thoughts.
"We know that services are struggling to cope with the growing number of people who need help. But no young people should be threatened by the NHS, "said Vicki Nash, head of the organization's policies and campaigns. She added that a cancellation could negatively impact both the relationship between the teen and the CAMHS staff and potentially their mental health.
Nash said, "Canceling an appointment for mental health can break a young person's trust in health services. People are often the most vulnerable by the time they receive professional support for such complex issues as eating disorders, self-harm and psychosis, not to mention children likely to be at risk. interact with services for the first time in their lives.
"No young person should have to worry about whether his next appointment will be held. Once someone enters the mental health system, he deserves quick and consistent support that gives him the best possible chance of recovery.
"It is extremely worrying that the number of canceled appointments continues to increase, even in proportion to the increase in the number of appointments. As demand grows, under-attended staff will move away en masse, which may impact gaps between appointments and chances of cancellation. "
The numbers highlight the difficulties faced by the NHS England in honoring its ambitious commitments to transform access to specialized care for children and young people with mental difficulties, and in particular to reduce often-lengthy expectations. Experts say the continued decline in the number of mental health nurses and vacancies in specialist child psychiatrists in many CAMHS teams threaten the realization of plans.
The number of young people under 18 in England referred to CAMHS has increased rapidly. It went from 343,386 in 2017-18 to 405,479 last year, an increase of 18% over the previous year. Exam pressure, online bullying, pressure to look good, family difficulties and dysfunctional backgrounds, as well as the greater openness of youth to recognize their condition and seek help, have all were cited to explain this demand sharply rising.
GPs revealed last week that many young people with mental disorders who were referred to CAMHS had been refused because of illness. Sometimes, young people have had to wait months before seeing a mental health professional.
The figures obtained by Mind also show that under-18s and their families canceled about four times more appointments than CAMHS providers. In 2018, 798,010 appointments were canceled because the teenager canceled the meeting or did not attend. Overall, CAMHS services provided 3,734,000 appointments in 2018-2019 where the patient was present.
Emma Thomas, executive director of the charity YoungMinds, urged ministers and NHS leaders to provide more help to young people as soon as they develop problems, and not to focus solely on improving access to CAMHS when patients become sicker.
Thomas said, "The next government needs to improve services by investing in the NHS, but also ensure that young people can get help when they need it, whether in clubs. youth centers, hostels, local charities, schools or online. We urgently need a new strategy making prevention and early intervention a priority. "
The Guardian has asked Matt Hancock, Secretary of Health and Social Affairs, to share his comments, but has not yet received a response.
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