Rise in under-19s being treated by mental health services

New NHS figures have revealed that nearly 400,000 children and young people in England are being treated for mental health problems each year.

Representing the highest figure on records, the NHS Digital figures show that there were a total of 389,727 ‘active referrals’ for people aged 18 or younger in April this year, a third higher than the same month two years ago.

Almost 50,000 children and young people a month are being referred for mental health treatment, predominantly by their GP. Breakdown of the figures highlight that approximately 900 of those referrals are because of an eating disorder, mainly anorexia nervosa. There have been equally sharp rises in the number of young people seeking help for conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Tom Madders, Young Mind’s campaigns director, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the extent of the mental health crisis, with more children than ever before accessing services. We know that many more families can’t get the support they need. Every day we hear from parents whose children have waited months for an assessment, been turned down for treatment or been told by their GPs that there’s no point asking for a referral because services in their area are so overstretched.”

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