Suicidal children forced to wait months for a mental health referral

Suicidal children forced to wait months for a mental health referral

Ms Rughoobeer said she had worked with a 13-year-old boy who told her he planned to kill himself who was given just just three sessions of CBT before being referred back to his school.

Last year, she said a 13-year-old made two suicide attempts within two months, both of which required hospitalisation yet was told that the child did not meet their thresholds and intervention was not provided. And in 2017, a 15-year-old who was self-harming for up to nine months was consistently told she did not meet thresholds.

She was eventually she was put on a five-month waiting list for an initial screening before eventually being allocated one group therapy session.

One mother, who does not want to be identified, described how her son began showing signs of depression at the age of 11, after a series of family upheavals, which spiralled out of control and he ended up trying to take his own life two years later.

He was admitted to hospital was suspected liver failure and sectioned but it then took a further six months to get a CAMHS appointment. Her son, now 15, was taken into a room and assessed on his own then dismissed as it his case worker concluded he did not need further treatment.

His mother, from Hertfordshire, told the Telegraph: “If I had depression, it would be much easier for me, as an adult, to access medication and therapy than it is for children.

“If a child had a broken leg but was saying ‘I don’t have a broken leg’ medical services would involve parents. Why aren’t they doing this for me? My fifteen year old pretended he was fine – but CAMHS should be involving parents in the process, or at least offering support for parents to help them manage their children’s mental health problems.

She acknowledged that CAMHS workers were often “overworked, time poor and stressed” but added: “Our experiences have left us completely disillusioned with the system. My son isn’t interested in school, he isn’t fulfilling his potential. I live with a constant fear about what he will do”.

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