Statistics “appear” to show Improvement in children and adolescents mental health services

The following is a news item from Hafal’s Big Lottery-funded Young People’s Information Hub. To access the Hub please click here.

Statistics from Durham University have found that mental health services for children and adolescents in Wales “appear” to be showing signs of improvement.

The university’s findings on the provision of Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Specialist CAMHS) provides data collected between 2007-2011.

Key findings include:

•An increase of 25% in the workforce between 2007-11. Nurses, including community nurses, made up the largest staff group within that workforce (33% of the total).

• A growth in the number of cases worked with and consultations carried out.

• A reduction in the number of people waiting to be seen.

• A reduction in the length of wait for people to be seen.

•A reduction in lengthy treatment times.

Commenting on the findings Health and Social Services Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM said: “We owe it to our children and young people to give them a good start in life, and prioritising their mental health is vital.
“About 10% of people under the age of 16 experience mental health problems, ranging from brief or mild problems to more severe mental illness.

“Early recognition of mental health problems and the availability of appropriate treatment, is key if we are to give children and adolescents the best chance in life.
“Since 2008, we have invested an extra £9.6million in specialist mental health services for children and young people and allocated £8million to the development of school-based counselling services.

“Investment in prevention and health improvement plays a major part in our strategy to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people. In May this year we met our One Wales commitment to provide one school nurse in every secondary school. School nurses are central to a range of services that promote and support the social, physical, emotional and mental health of our children and young people.

“It is clear from the results of the CAMHS report that our policies and continued investment in our children and young people are improving the picture for those needing help with mental health issues. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure the right services are in place for those young people who need them.”

Despite the Minister’s positive words the data from Durham University has been reported with a note of caution. The Welsh Government’s press release states that: “Annual snapshot data has been collected for three years (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11) on the NHS provision of Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Specialist CAMHS) in Wales. While the findings of this report should be read with care, the mapping exercises would appear to chart a picture of expansion and change in Specialist CAMHS.”

Responding to the news Hafal’s Young People’s Information Officer, John Gilheaney, said: “This is good news which is to be welcomed.

“However, I think it’s also fair to say that there is a still a lot more to do in improving the provision of CAMHS services across Wales. Only last week, at a conference on suicide and self harm in Cardiff, CAMHS’ Welsh Government adviser David Williams spoke of a shortfall in the number of CAMHS workers in Wales.”

The results of the CAMHS Mapping Wales Exercise will be published at

To read the news story featuring Dr David Williams – “25%of females and 40% of male, school-age children have considered suicide in the last year.” please visit: