Child and adolescent mental health referrals jump as cases get more extreme and complex, MPs hear

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 13 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3952
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

The number of mental health referrals in children and adolescents is rising sharply, and the referrals are becoming more complex and more acute, psychiatrists have told MPs. One expert witness also claimed that health professionals were seeing an unprecedented degree of “social disintegration” and a remarkable level of insecurity among young people.

MPs on the parliamentary health select committee questioned several psychiatrist witnesses on 10 June as part of their inquiry into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). When asked by MPs how demand on these services had changed in recent years, all of the witnesses said that it had risen sharply.

Liz Myers, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist for CAMHS at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, …

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