A Freedom of Information request by children’s mental health charity YoungMinds found that spending by mental health trusts in England dropped from £449.7m in 2013/14 to £426m in 2014/15 – a drop of £23.7m.
Meanwhile, spending by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) fell from £362.7m in 2013/14, to £354.9m in 2014/15 – a drop of £7.8m.
And spend on services by local authorities fell by £3.8m, from £77.6m in 2013/14 to £73.8m in 2014/15, giving a combined total of £35.3m.
The study found there had been a total of £85m in cuts since 2010.
The true figure could be even higher because responses were only received from 62.7 per cent of mental health trusts (37 out of 59), 63.8 per cent of local authorities (97 out of 152), 78.2 per cent of CCGs (165 out of 211).
Sarah Brennan, chief executive of YoungMinds, said the research shows “a disturbing picture of disinvestment”.
“For children, young people, parents and professionals it is tremendously frustrating that for all the action at a national level, on the ground, where help is delivered, services are under enormous pressure,” she said.
“This disinvestment has to stop.”
The study also found 20 per cent of local authorities had frozen or cut their CAMHS budget every year since 2010.
Brennan added: “We have a clear agenda set out by the Department of Health and NHS England in the recent report of the Children’s Mental Health Taskforce to transform CAMHS.
“Local health bodies need to seize this opportunity so that the thousands of children and their families desperately struggling get the help they need and deserve.”
In March, a survey of 850 education professionals by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found half of schools and colleges said they had seen an increase in the number of children in their school with mental health issues, with 43 per cent blaming cuts to CAMHS services.
Before the general election the government announced it plans to provide £1.25bn of extra investment in mental health services for children and young people over the next five years.