Mental health

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

More than 3,000 of you signed our letter to the health secretary calling for improved access to mental health support for disabled children and young people.

Our research shows that despite having a referral – which can be a battle in itself – a third of disabled children are waiting over a year to get access to the mental health services they desperately need. Even when they do access mental health services, they are less likely to have their psychiatric and developmental needs recognised, understood and addressed.

For many children, accessing child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is often the first step in getting a diagnosis for disabilities such as autism and ADHD. Long waiting times can have the knock-on effect of preventing families accessing support from other services to manage their condition and behaviours.

The last government pledged to put mental health on an equal footing to physical health, but this remains a long way off being achieved.

What we want

  • An end to the wait for mental health support for families with disabled children and young people.
  • A focus on disabled children and young people in the growing debate about mental health support – to date, they haven’t been mentioned.
  • Targeted investment and improved expertise for disabled children requiring mental health support.

What you can do

What we are doing

  • Raising awareness of the waiting times for CAMHS in parliament the press.
  • Developing information so families can better understand routes into mental health support.