Children waiting months for specialist mental health support in Brighton and Hove

Some children with specialist mental health needs are waiting more than eight weeks to be seen.

And the number of all cases referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) has gone up to 1,065 in the year to the end of March from 906 in 2017-18.

The figures emerged when the Brighton and Hove City Council Health and Wellbeing Board met at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Tuesday 12 November).

Green councillor Sarah Nield asked about services for children needing mental health care and support.

Deb Austin, the council’s acting director for families, children and learning, said that children and young people with some of the greatest need faced longer waits.

This was affecting those who needed the support of psychiatric services, psychologists, psychotherapists and other specialist therapists.

She said: “There should be an eight-week period between a referral and a child being seen. Unfortunately that is far longer.

“Obviously, that is something the CCG (clinical commissioning group) is aware of and something that is being fed into the Sussex-wide review of emotional and mental health provision for children and young people.”

She said that children with a lower level of need were often able to receive support at school, adding: “That is a service that can be much more responsive.”

All of Brighton and Hove’s state secondary schools have community mental health workers.

The council also runs a behaviour and inclusions support service from within the council’s families, children and learning directorate to provide support to children in primary and secondary school.

Brighton and Hove CCG’s director of commissioning Ashley Scarff said that the Sussex-wide review was comprehensive and the results were due in January.

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