Laura Sharman 09 April 2021

Children ‘bearing brunt’ of mental health crisis

Children ‘bearing brunt’ of mental health crisis image

The number of children seeking help for mental health problems increased by 28% during the pandemic, new figures have revealed.

Analysis of NHS Digital data by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows that children have been most affected by the ‘mental health crisis’.

The data shows 80,226 more children and young people were referred to CYP mental health services between April and December last year, up by 28% on 2019.

More than 18,000 children and young people needed urgent or emergency crisis care during this time, an increase of 18% on 2019.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the additional £500m promised for mental health to urgently reach the frontline to tackle the crisis.

Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘Our children and young people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic and are at risk of lifelong mental illness.

’As a frontline psychiatrist I’ve seen the devastating effect that school closures, disrupted friendships and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic have had on the mental health of our children and young people.

’Services were already struggling to cope with the number of children needing help before the pandemic hit, and they risk being overrun unless government ensures the promised money reaches the frontline quickly.’

The analysis also shows that urgent or emergency referrals made for adults during this time period are at an all-time high at 159,347.

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