23 November 2018

ITV News visited the Trust's Tower Hamlets CAMHS service yesterday to interview some of our specialist psychiatric staff about the services they provide and how they cope with increasing pressure on resources. Young peoples' mental health has suddenly come into focus in the news because of the release this week of  the Children's Commissioner for England's national survey into mental health provision for young people. This is the first in depth survey of its kind for over ten years and highlights a marked rise in mental distress among young people overall, with one in 18 preschool children found to have at least one mental disorder.

The survey also singled out the pressure on resources in terms of rising waiting times for young people to see a specialist. Significantly, Tower Hamlets CAMHS are bucking this national trend  with a maximum five week wait for youngsters to see someone locally. Nationally, only 30% of services are able to reach this goal.

Despite being one of the most economically deprived boroughs in the country, Tower Hamlets CAMHS expects this waiting time statistic to reduce still further next year, partly thanks to extra funding from local commissioners and NHS England coming on stream.

Psychological Therapies Lead Richard Simmonds and Associate Clinical Director Hanspeter Dorner explained to  ITV News that they agreed with the broad thrust of the Children's Commissioner survey in that demands on services are increasing, but, as Bill Williams, General Manager of Tower Hamlets CAMHS said, 'the CAMHS services we do provide in Tower Hamlets have real impact, with a mosaic of specialist services in place, staffed by highly motivated teams and backed up by a Trust that gives them meaningful, real support.'