William Eichler 24 September 2021

Record number of children referred to mental health services

Record number of children referred to mental health services  image

Local authority leaders have stressed the importance of investing in community-based services in order to drive improvements in children’s mental health.

An analysis of NHS Digital data by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found that between April and June this year, 190,271 0–18-year-olds were referred to children and young people’s mental health services. This is up 134% on the same period last year (81,170) and 96% on 2019 (97,342).

Dr Elaine Lockhart, chair of the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, pointed to the pandemic as the cause of the increase.

‘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,’ she said.

‘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.’

Responding to the findings, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Children and Young People Board, emphasised that there was a problem before the pandemic.

‘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% between 2017/18 and 2019/20,’ she said.

Cllr Bramble explained that in order to improve the mental health of children and young people, there needed to be more local investment.

‘Mental health needs to be at the heart of a holistic approach to overall health and wellbeing, including investment in community-based services,’ she said.

‘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.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£30,451 - £34,728 per annum
We are looking for a Social Worker for a fixed-term 12 month contract to cover maternity. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Governance Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£22,627 to £24,491
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Team Manager Family Connect

Telford & Wrekin Council
£45.859 to £48.841 per annum
We're looking for an enthusiastic, highly motivated and experienced Team Manager with substantial experience.  Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Experienced Children's Senior Social Worker - Assessment /Family Safeguarding

Telford & Wrekin Council
£38,890 - £41,881 per annum
As one of our Senior Social Workers we will support you to develop your skills and knowledge when working with families using a restorative approach. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Social Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£38,890 - £41,881 per annum
This is an exciting time for Telford and Wrekin’s Children’s Social Care as we move forward on our Transformation Journey.   Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue