Mental health crisis: The young people waiting years for support

Of almost one million children and young people referred to mental health services in 2022/23, more than 270,000 were still waiting for support at the end of the year.
Image: Adobe Stock

NHS data obtained by the Children’s Commissioner for England shows that the average wait for a second contact (which is usually when support begins) for these children and young people was 142 days – including 32,000 who had been waiting for more than two years.

Of those whose reasons for referral were known, the most common issues were anxiety, “reaching crisis”, neurodevelopmental conditions (excluding autism), depression, and self-harm. However, concerningly a third of cases were recorded as reason “unknown”.

The disturbing picture is painted in a report from the Children’s Commissioner. It finds that 949,200 children and young people – roughly 8% – had active referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the 2022/23 financial year.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here