Journal scan

Improvements needed across Europe in mental health care for children and young people

A study of child and adolescent mental health care has found provision needs to be improved across all the countries in the European Union.

A study of child and adolescent mental healthcare has found provision needs to be improved across all the countries in the European Union.


The delivery of mental health services for adolescents differs across
countries in Europe and needs improvement, study finds. Picture: iStock

A team of academics examined characteristics of national child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across all 28 countries in the EU, including legal aspects of adolescent care.

The characteristics and activities of CAMHS (for example the availability of services, inpatient beds, clinicians and organisations, and delivery of specific CAMHS services and treatments) varied considerably between countries, as did funding sources and user access. 

For example, the number of public CAMHS relative to the target population ranged from 12.9 per 100,000 young people in Finland to 0.5 per 100,000 young people in Bulgaria. On average young people constitute one fifth of the general population of Europe.

Neurodevelopmental disorders were the most frequent diagnostic group - up to 81% - for people seen at CAMHS (data available from only 13 (46%) countries).

Country-to-country policy

In total, 20 countries reported having an official national child and adolescent mental health policy, covering young people until their official age of transition to adulthood.

In several countries, specific subgroups of children and adolescents had poor access to specialised mental health services dedicated to them. For example, of data from 27 countries, only ten provided access to refugees.

The study is part of the five-year milestone project that aims to improve transitions for young people from CAMHS to adult mental health services across Europe.


Signorini G, Singh SP, Boricevic-Marsanic V (2017) Architecture and functioning of child and adolescent mental health services: a 28-country survey in Europe. The Lancet Psychiatry. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30127-X

 

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs