Our comment to BBC Panorama about child and adolescent mental health services

Tonight's BBC Panorama focuses on NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). We were asked for comment and here is what we said.

"We understand how difficult and distressing it is for children, young people and families affected by mental health issues such an anxiety, depression, self-harm and psychosis. We always try to be sensitive to their needs and to make sure they receive the right help.  We are very sorry to hear about anyone who is unhappy about the care or advice they have received from us. We encourage people to talk to us where this is the case so we can do everything possible to respond. Listening to children, young people and families is a vital part of continuously trying to improve the care, treatment and support we provide.

"Our teams work extremely hard to help families access the right support for the difficulties they are facing. If a child or young person doesn’t meet the criteria for the specialist mental health services we are commissioned to provide, we will guide them towards support which is available from other organisations. We will always review clinical decisions like this if the situation changes. Once we have assessed a child or young person and determined our services are best placed to help them, we get a plan of treatment in place as soon as possible.

"As well as supporting people at home and through our community teams, we provide treatment for children and young people needing hospital admission. We are responsible for keeping them safe, feeling cared for and supported whilst in hospital. We treat it extremely seriously if there is ever a suggestion this has not been the case for someone under our care. We investigate any such concerns as a matter of urgency and will take whatever action necessary. We work closely with NHS England when a child or young person needs to be placed in a unit outside our own services.

"As is the case across the country, our child and adolescent mental health services are experiencing increasing demand. One of the ways we are responding is to work with our partners to develop new ways of helping people. An example is the drop in service we've introduced with partners in Hastings  to make it as easy as possible for children and young people to get help at the earliest possible opportunity, whether that is from mental health professionals or other support services.  We need to be bold and creative in using resources to extend this kind of service and develop new ways of providing care wherever we can. This is what we are committed to doing, working with and acting on feedback from the people who use our services and their families, our commissioners and other partners in health, social care, education and the voluntary sector.

If you have any questions or concerns about the care you are receving, please contact your care team or our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)