NHS services are struggling to keep up with unprecedented demand and backlogs.
Analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found that the number of referrals for specialist NHS mental health care reached a record high in England by the end of 2021. During the whole year there were over 4 million referrals, with services overwhelmed by the sheer number of people requiring additional support. What stands out to us us that around a quarter of those referrals were for children or adolescents. We have made it our mission to ensure people don’t have to suffer like Oliver did but the pandemic has only exacerbated the problems which were already rife.
Full investigation of the situation shows that people are still being sent long distances to receive specialist treatment, and that many aren’t receiving any support at all as they are stuck on the waiting list. These are not new issues. Although they have been heightened by the pandemic, these issues are part of a consistent pattern over the past decade. People shouldn’t have to wait when they are in such desperate need for support, and it is fundamentally wrong that those on waiting lists receive little to no contact whilst they wait, despite the fact that it is common knowledge that they are going through challenging times. Last month it was revealed that there has been a 77% rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis.
When so many children and young people are going through difficult times, we know that it is imperative that as many organisations as possible offer their support, particularly with the NHS struggling so much. It is wrong that in 2022 there are people in crisis who cannot get help. The time to act is now.
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