Rising number of young people needing mental health support
An investigation has found a rise in the number of young people suffering from mental health problems and has said a complete overhaul is needed.
Figures have found that the number of young people aged under 18 referred to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has risen by 84% since 2011/12, reports the Eastern Daily Press.
Experts have said that the rise is due to increased pressures on young people and reduction in support services.
Jon Wilson, a consultant psychiatrist and the trust’s clinical lead for youth service, said: “As of September we will launch a new service for children and young people. We have spoken to them and designed the service they want. Something that is modern, relevant and which they will engage with.”
Chris Leaman, policy manager at the Young Minds mental health charity, said of the figures: “There has been a perfect storm. There’s more pressure put on young people, they live in a 24/7 society and can be more prone to things like cyber-bullying, they can be bombarded with images of how they should look and what they should do, schools have become more focussed on exams, which brings more pressure and everything they are told about their prospects when they grow up has been bleak. But for too long these problems have been ignored, children’s mental health services have been under-funded and we are now having to play catch up.”
Dr Wilson, who was part of a national task-force looking at changes needed, said: “The increase is in line with what is being seen nationally. A number of factors affect this, including rising demand for young people needing help with self-harm and eating disorders. The stigma associated with having mental health needs has reduced, which means young people are becoming increasingly confident in seeking help. We are also picking up the pieces of a reduction in services provided by the charitable sector.”
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