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Monday, 14 May 2018

New data shows big rise in school referrals for child mental health treatment

Written by Ellie Cullen

The number of children referred for mental health treatment by their schools has risen by more than a third in the past three years, figures have revealed.

According to data obtained by the NSPCC, a total of 34,757 referrals for specialist support were made by schools in 2017-18 - the equivalent of 183 every school day.

This is compared to 25,140 referrals in 2014-15.

More than half (56%) of the referrals came from primary schools, where children are under the age of 11, the research found.

The statistics also revealed that nearly a third (31%) of those referred to NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were declined specialist treatment.

The NSPCC warned increased demand for services was placing the system under pressure and jeopardising the well-being of thousands of children.

It has called for more funding for its Childline service to help relieve some of the pressure.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the charity, said: "Our research shows schools are increasingly referring children for specialist mental health treatment, often when the child is at crisis point.

"We have seen a marked increase in counselling about mental health, and fully expect it to continue."

The NSPCC's data, released under the freedom of information act, covers 53 of the 66 health trusts known to provide mental health support to children.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Barry Batchelor / PA Wire.