In England, clinicians and professional organisations report that higher numbers of adolescents with more severe psychosocial difficulties are accessing specialist services. A lack of national data on patterns of access to specialist services means there is limited information to inform policy. We examined whether severity of psychosocial difficulties in adolescents accessing mental healthcare has changed over time. Adolescents seen in specialist child mental healthcare in 2009 vs. 2014 were matched on demographics and problem types using propensity score matching; final sample N = 2776 adolescents. We found: 1) stability over time in overall severity of difficulties, 2) an increase in severity of young women’s emotional problems, and 3) a decrease in adolescents’ conduct problems. The findings suggest the intriguing possibility that the criteria for accessing mental healthcare are not universally rising, but rather the patterns in access to specialist services may mirror epidemiological changes in severity of psychosocial difficulties in the population.