WAITING times for Rotherham children to receive mental health diagnoses are taking three-and-a-half years on average — ten times the target.
Health bosses want to see assessments take 18 weeks but admit there is much work to do as the prevalence of issues among young people increases.
It was reported to RMBC’s Health Select Commission that there had been scepticism about digital tools being used for assessments, but this had reduced during the pandemic as more services shifted to digital.
Cllr Victoria Cusworth, cabinet member for children and you people, said: “Obviously, the diagnosis is important. But the support is more important.
“If you get a diagnosis and nothing happens or there’s no support in school for the child or young person, then what has the diagnosis got you, really?
“We know the pressures on schools. What schools want is that resource and capacity to deliver the support the child needs, regardless of the diagnosis.
“We absolutely need to get these waiting times down. It’s the outcomes that are important... does that child or young person in Rotherham receive the support that they need to achieve their absolutely full potential?
“But we do need to get these waiting times down. It’s not good enough. There’s a lot of work to do.”
Referrals from education services “significantly increased” during April, May and June this year, a report to the scrutiny meeting last Thursday (25) said.
Reasons suggested have included social media, exam pressure, worries about the future — such as climate change — and loss of routines during the pandemic.