Table of contents


Background papers: children :: Emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people :: Summary


For children and young people, being emotionally healthy is associated with a range of positive outcomes in later life and having the resilience to face future challenges. The most recent government mental health (MH) strategy, No Health without Mental Health (2011),[1] states that 60% of people who go on to develop a severe mental illness have experienced their first episode of mental illness by the age of 14 years. Research suggests that mental ill-health has its greatest impact for people between the ages of 15-25 years.

The development of emotional health starts before birth, with the first two years of life being particularly critical. Key to this is the development of effective perinatal MH services for mothers and infants, and the early parent/child relationship. Early intervention, particularly amongst children, is known to limit the long-term consequences of mental illness.[1][2]

Key Issues and Gaps

There is a national lack of robust data on local prevalence of MH problems amongst children and young people. Information is not routinely collected for many MH problems that do not involve CAMHS contact. Issues with CAHMS services:
• Gaps exist in transition services both between tiers of CAMHS services and from CAMHS to adult services, in part due to discrepancies in eligibility criteria.
• Service activity and performance data were not available for Tier 2 CAMHS.
• Average waiting times from tier three assessment to treatment, although substantially improved over recent years, remain higher than the improvement target of 10 weeks.
• Of the Tier 4 admissions in 2013/14, 13.1% were to a unit outside of Kent and Medway.

ASD and ADHD prevalence amongst Medway's children and young people is substantially higher than national estimates. The reasons for this are not understood.

Recommendations for commissioning

Redesign of the local CAMHS system to support access to services for young people up to the age of 25 years. Consideration should be given to the increased numbers of children and young people who will require CAMHS input as services move towards provision for those up to 25 years of age.


[1]   HM Government. No health without mental health: a cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages 2011; Department of Health.
[2]   of Health D. Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020 2014;