YOUNG people needing access to mental health services are better off in Bradford than in many other parts of the country, according to a new watchdog report.

A review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that while many in England are facing long waiting times of up to 18 months to get the help they need, Bradford appears to be bucking that trend with the maximum wait being 11 weeks and within 24 hours or sooner to urgent referrals. The national wait guideline is 18 weeks.

One year ago, a pioneering service opened its doors to give through-the-night urgent mental health support to some of the district’s most vulnerable under 18s. The Safer Space project’s location in a residential area is kept discreet but it opens 365 days a year from 10pm to 10am.

It means those in crisis, assessed by Bradford District Care Trust’s First Response crisis support team, can avoid going to A&E and potentially involving other agencies such as the police.

Figures from last year estimated there were 8,500 children aged between five and 15 with diagnosable mental health disorders in Bradford, equating to between two and three children in each secondary school class.

Experts also said that the figure could rise to up to 17,000 if lower level emotional or behavioural difficulties are taken into account.

The newly-published Government-ordered report is the first phase of a major investigation requested by the Prime Minister in January to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current mental health system for children and young people..

“Many organisations are involved in planning, funding, commissioning, providing and overseeing support and care for young people with mental health problems. Poor collaboration and communication between these agencies can lead to fragmented care, create inefficiencies in the system, and impede efforts to improve the quality of care,” said the report.

A spokesman for Bradford District Care Trust said that, since 2001, Bradford Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) has worked in partnership with school nurses across the district to offer advice, consultation and early help so the appropriate help is offered in a timely fashion.

“We are actively working across Bradford in partnership with all agencies. There are some innovative and pioneering projects being developed,” he added.

One of those projects is a buddying scheme, pairing a young person up with a mental health trained youth worker while waiting for CAMHS support.