School referrals for mental health treatment rise by over a third

The number of schools making pupil referrals for mental health treatment has risen up by over a third in the last three years.

The NSPCC obtained the information from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to NHS Trusts in England. It found that 123,713 referrals were made by schools seeking professional mental health help between 2014/15 and 2017/181.

The request also showed that 56 per cent of referrals came from primary schools and on average 183 referrals were made per school day in 2017/182.

Where information was provided about the outcome of the referral, almost one third were declined specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) treatment.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said: “Our research shows schools are increasingly referring children for specialist mental health treatment, often when the child is at crisis point.

“Childline plays a vital role in supporting children with their mental and emotional health, and many turn to us when they are struggling to get access to specialist treatment.

“We have seen a marked increase in counselling about mental health, and fully expect it to continue. It is vital that Government urgently provides more funding to Childline and help children who don’t have access to support elsewhere.”

At the beginning of 2018, the NSPCC launched its Are you there? campaign, calling on the government to invest funding into early support services for children.

Read more