Young People Still Rejected from CAMHS

27th June 2019

SAMH is today (Thursday, 27 June) calling on the Scottish Government to immediately implement all of the 29 recommendations they promised to deliver to improve the system for young people seeking mental health help.

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Audit of Rejected Referrals to 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, despite a promise from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport that mental health services “will be refounded on the need to empathise, engage and explain how to get help to often very vulnerable young people.”

One in five referrals to these specialist young people’s mental health services are rejected, mostly without a face to face assessment.

SAMH is challenging 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

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH, said: “Achieving positive outcomes for young people and their families was at the heart of this audit, yet one year on, young people are still being rejected from mental health services. This must be hugely disappointing for families across Scotland who need help.

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

During the quarter January-March 2019, 9,748 children and young people were referred to CAMHS with 21.2% rejected.

On the day the report was published in 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport accepted all 29 of the recommendations and described the current system of rejecting referrals for child and adolescent mental health services as “completely unacceptable”.