Brent handed low score for youth mental health provision

Stock picture of a teenage girl using an iphone mobile phone.

Between April 2019 and March 2020, children and young people in Brent had to wait an average of 70 days for a follow-up appointment - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Brent's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was given one of the lowest scores in the country for its youth mental health services in the lead up to the pandemic, new data shows. 

In the State of Children’s Mental Health Services report by the Children’s Commissioner, Brent CCG was given a score of nine out of 25. 

Five key indicators used to calculate the score were the percentage of the CCG’s budget spent on young people’s mental health, mental health spend per child, the percentage of young people in contact with mental health services, the average waiting time and the percentage of mental referrals closed before treatment.

Figures from the report show between April 2019 and March 2020, children and young people in Brent had to wait an average of 70 days after their initial mental health referral to access a follow-up appointment.

London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Navin Shah, said: “We risk seriously letting young people down unless we give these services the support they need to get up to scratch.

“Lockdown and school closures have clearly taken their toll on many children, especially those stuck in cramped and overcrowded homes, temporary accommodation or abusive households."

He said every young person in Brent should be able to access services properly resourced by both CCGs and central government.

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Schools having a bigger role to play was "completely dependent" on government funding, he added.

“The ramifications of childhood mental ill health can be long lasting and devastating, so investment in early intervention isn’t just desirable, it’s crucial," he said.

A North West London Health and Care Partnership spokesperson said: "Access to community CAMHS services in Brent improved over the past 12 months in line with the national standard set out by the NHS Long Term Plan.

"Brent CCG’s investment into children and young people’s mental health services has also increased in line with the expectations outlined by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

"This will go some way to address the rising demand for services as a result of Covid-19 as well as existing inequalities in access and outcomes, in order to improve services for children and young people in Brent.

"In addition, Brent CCG is optimistic that funding awarded for their successful Mental Health Support Teams in Schools bid will go some way to ensure that schools have a bigger role in early intervention for children and young people’s mental health."