Audit of Rejected Referrals from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

For over two years, SAMH have been campaigning to improve mental health services and support for Scotland’s children and young people.

The 29th of June, marked the one year anniversary of the Audit of Rejected Referrals from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the first of several reports identifying serious flaws in the CAMHS system.

Since the report was published, more than five thousand young people have been rejected from CAMHS. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, on the day the report was published in 2018, accepted all 29 of the recommendations; describing the current system of rejecting referrals for child and adolescent mental health services as “completely unacceptable”.

One in five referrals to these specialist young people’s mental health services are rejected, mostly without a face to face assessment. We don’t know what support, if any, children and young people get when they are rejected by CAMHS.

The situation is urgent and must be a priority – our young people can’t wait any longer. The Scottish Government made promises over a year ago; we call on them to deliver on those commitments.

SAMH is challenging the Scottish Government to:

  • By the end of August 2019, write to all NHS Health Boards and Integrated Joint Boards requiring them to immediately implement the sixteen recommendations for which they have responsibility
  • Announce in the 2019-20 Programme for Government a specific timetable for urgent development and implementation of the community mental wellbeing services for 5-24 year olds promised in the 2018-19 Programme for Government
  • By Christmas 2019, ensure that at least 50% of those being rejected from CAMHS are being directly re-routed to another appropriate service
  • By 29 June 2020, every child referred gets routed to a service or support, which could include CAMHS, by implementing the multi-agency assessment system recommended in the report

Thanks to the support we receive from our supporters and fundraisers, we can continue campaigning until all children and young people in Scotland get the support they deserve.

If you know a child or young person experiencing issues with their mental health, our website resources are a good place to start. You’ll find information for young people, along with information for parents, including our ‘I’m worried about my child’ leaflet and a guide to starting a conversation about mental health.

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