By Laura Kemp • 23 September 2021 • 12:38
Record number of children suffering from mental health issues after pandemic. Credit: Pixabay
A report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that a record number of children and young people in England are seeking mental health support, with the number doubling after the pandemic.
Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: “The pandemic has exacerbated existing mental health issues among children but even before this, the number of children referred to mental health services soared by nearly 60 per cent between 2017/18 and 2019/20.
“Mental health needs to be at the heart of a holistic approach to overall health and wellbeing, including investment in community-based services.
“It is vital that effective and evidence-based mental health and wellbeing services and statutory mental health services for children are able to meet existing, new and unmet demand that has built up during the pandemic to support children and young people to thrive and overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19. The situation must be kept under review going forward to assess any further support needs that may arise.”
The College looked at NHS Digital data on mental health referrals for children and young people aged 18 and under.
It discovered that between April and June this year 190,271 children aged 18 and under were referred to mental health services for children and young people. This number is nearly double that of 2019 when 97,342 were referred.
Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “These alarming figures reflect what I and many other frontline psychiatrists are seeing in our clinics on a daily basis.
“The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the nation’s mental health, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that children and young people are suffering terribly.
“Early intervention is key to recovery. Schools have a critical role to play in this and the Education Secretary must do all that he can to prioritise pupils’ mental health.
“Children’s mental health services must also be properly funded and properly staffed if we are to treat the ever-growing number needing mental health care. Without investment, we run the risk of many more needing crisis help.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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