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CAMHS funding 'not making it to frontline'

CAMHS funding 'not making it to frontline': over a quarter of the funding for child and adolescent mental health services is not making it to frontline services, it has emerged.

Labour MP Luciana Berger asked a parliamentary question as to what proportion of the proposed budget for child and adolescent mental health services transformation has been allocated to local clinical commissioning groups; and how much was allocated in each year since that budget was announced.

Parliamentary under-secretary of state for health and social care Jackie Doyle-Price revealed that in 2015-16, out of the £158 million made available for children and young people's mental health transformation, £105m was allocated to clinical commissioning groups, equating to 66%.

The following year in 2016-17, £189m of £265m was allocated to CCGs which was 71%. In 2017-18 £195m of £265m or 72% went to CCGs and in 2018-19 £202m of the £265m went to the frontline which equated to 76%.

In total, this meant that only £688m of the £953m allocated so far or 72.2% has gone to local clinical commissioning groups to improve services.

A Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC earlier this year revealed that almost a third of children being referred to specialist mental health services by their schools are being denied treatment.

And just this month a report by drugs policy thinktank Volteface found that young people with mental health issues linked to cannabis use are being turned away from child and adolescent mental health services. Yet there was a mor than 50 per cent rise in the number of young people presenting at hospital with a cannabis-related mental health problem.

The report suggested that diminished resources in community mental health provision is creating intense competition for help for mental health problems with eating disorders and self-harming being prioritised over cannabis-related conditions.

Furthermore, The Children's Society's annual Good Childhood report revealed that almost one quarter of 14-year-old girls reported self-harming in just a year. One in six of the 11,000 children surveyed reported self-harming by the age 14 including one in 10 boys.

Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, Cllr Roy Perry said: “These alarming figures reinforce the urgent need to tackle the crisis in children’s mental health."

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