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Monthly referrals to CAMHS reach record high

A young Black woman in a wheelchair and a young Black man on a bench, both staring at the camera looking serious.

Latest NHS data[1], analysed by leading mental health charity YoungMinds, shows the number of open referrals[2] to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services is the highest on record with 496,897 referred to services in November 2023, an increase from 493,434 in October 2023.

The data also shows the number of urgent referrals among under-18s reached a record high of 4,032 for November 2023. This is up from 3,355 on the previous month. Urgent referrals are when a young person needs crisis support.

The number of new referrals[3] in November 2023 was 126,111, close to the highest recorded figure of 126,857 in March 2022.

Another month of record referrals is further proof of the youth mental health emergency. This is incredibly distressing. Behind every referral is a young person struggling to cope and calling for help from a broken system. When young people reach out for help, they should be supported, but instead they struggle to access the help they desperately need and are forced into long waits while their mental health deteriorates. The consequences of this can be devastating. How much worse does the situation need to get before the Government is prompted to do something about it? Every young person should be able to access the mental health support they need, when they need it, and we need urgent action from the Government to make this a reality. This includes reducing prevalence, providing support in schools and investing in support hubs in every community where young people can get help.
Tom Madders, Director of Communications and Campaigns at YoungMinds

YoungMinds are calling on all young people to demand the Government keep its promise to end the crisis in young people’s mental health.

Find out more about our campaign to #EndTheWait

For more information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please contact the YoungMinds press office on 0203 861 2072 or email press@youngminds.org.uk .

[1] NHS Digital 'Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics'. Published January 2024.

[2] Open referrals are the number of children and young people undergoing treatment or waiting to start care.

[3] These are referrals that started in November 2023.

About YoungMinds

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health.

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For free advice and support for parents, call our Parents Helpline on 0808 802 5544.

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