More than a quarter of young people referred for mental health treatment are being turned away from help, a new report has revealed.
The Education Policy Institute (EPI) found 26% of referrals (133,000 children and young people) to specialist mental health services were rejected in 2018-2019.
It warns rejection rates have not improved over the last four years despite an extra £1.4bn investment, and there is considerable regional variation in England.
Local services are often patchy and lack accountability, and councils sometimes fail to support those transitioning from child to adult mental health services, it also found.
Richard Crellin, policy manager at The Children’s Society, said: 'The mental health provision for vulnerable groups is deeply concerning, as is the lack of help for children transitioning from CAMHS to adult services, young people can fall through the cracks and not receive mental health support when they desperately need it.
'If these issues aren’t addressed and if we don’t intervene earlier with investment in community mental health centres that offer immediate support, we risk failing these young people and especially those that are the most vulnerable.'