CHILDREN are slipping through the gaps of mental health services as they move from child to adult support.

A group of experts who looked into the services offered in the county said child mental health services must be joined up with adult services as a “matter of urgency”, to provide vital continuity of care. Some 17 year olds are not getting referred to children’s mental health teams because they will soon turn 18 but then face waiting times to get seen by adult services, say Wiltshire Council councillors.

The Children and Adolescent Mental Health Strategy task group submitted a report that called for a specific mental health strategy for all Wiltshire schools.

It also called for continuous care from mental health workers so that young people knew who was looking after their support.

The task group’s findings were raised during a Health Select Committee meeting on Tuesday.

Some children miss out on care as they transition from secondary school to adulthood because they did not meet adult criteria to continue to getting help.

Councillors said that young people’s access to support was affected because muti-agencies ware not communicating with each other.

Cllr Pip Ridout said: “My problem is that this could be 10 years ago. Transition periods are the critical position where children are concerned. You need consistency from primary to secondary school for Looked After Children, SEND children and all children because once they turn 17 to 8 years there are nothing but delays until adult services.”

Wiltshire Council said it was working on closing the gap and set out a vision to provide services for children aged from 0-25 in the future.

Cabinet member for adult social care Jerry Wickham said: “We are on the cusp of there being change. Laura Mayes and I have met with officers to say we want to develop a whole life system and process.

"We have to make sure when people go from child to adulthood, whether at 18, 21 or 25, we’ve got to make it seamless as possible.

"That is happening, and it is long overdue.”

Plans have also been put forward to develop a specific prevention partnership between schools, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services and social workers to offer holistic help and support for young people suffering with low-level mental health problems.