Quality statement 4: Suspected severe depression without high risk of suicide

Quality statement

Children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide are assessed by CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) professionals within a maximum of 2 weeks of referral.

Rationale

Prompt access to services is essential if children and young people are to receive the right treatment at the right time. Arrangements should be in place so that children and young people referred to CAMHS with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide are assessed quickly to help prevent injury or worsening of symptoms.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that CAMHS professionals assess children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide within a maximum of 2 weeks of referral.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide who are assessed by CAMHS professionals within 2 weeks of referral.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator assessed by CAMHS professionals within 2 weeks of referral.

Denominator – the number of children and young people referred to CAMHS with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide.

Data source: Local data collection. For CAMHS, data on referral and waiting times are collected in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services secondary uses data set.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals, social care practitioners and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place for CAMHS professionals to assess children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide within a maximum of 2 weeks of referral.

CAMHS professionals assess children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide within a maximum of 2 weeks of referral.

Commissioners ensure that they commission CAMHS to assess children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide within a maximum of 2 weeks of referral.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Children and young people with suspected severe depression but not at high risk of suicide are assessed within a maximum of 2 weeks of being referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

Source guidance

Depression in children and young people (2005) NICE guideline CG28, recommendation 1.6.1.1.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

  • The time frame of 2 weeks is based on consensus of expert opinion.

Severe depression

ICD‑10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders describes severe depression as 7 or more depressive symptoms, with or without psychotic symptoms.

Assessment

An assessment by CAMHS is likely to include but is not limited to:

  • assessment of diagnosis

  • initiation of treatment.

High risk of suicide

NICE guideline CG28 defines suicidal ideation as thoughts about suicide or of taking action to end one's own life. For the purposes of this quality standard high risk of suicide could include, but is not limited to, children and young people with current active suicidal plans or thoughts.