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Child mental health crisis in Surrey and Hampshire

Child mental health crisis in Surrey and Hampshire

Published by Carol Musgrave with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Miguel Rodriguez at 1:33pm 7th August 2019.

New data shows thousands of young people are struggling with mental health problems in Surrey and North East Hampshire.

Mental health charities have warned about an underreported "national crisis" among children, and say short-staffed public services cannot tackle the problem unless funding is increased.

The NHS data shows the number of children and young people under 18 seen at least twice by mental health services in our area in 2018-2019:

  • North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group: 2335 - a ratio of 30 per every 1,000 children in the area, compared to 32 on average in England.
  • North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group: 1310 - a ratio of 28 per every 1,000 children.
  • Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group: 1,255 - a ratio of 28 per every 1,000 children.
  • Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group: 560 - a ratio of 27 per every 1,000 children.

The rate is below areas such as County Durham, where more than 60 in every 1,000 children required mental health assistance.

A recent report by the Association of Child Psychotherapists said child and adolescent mental health services are facing a "serious and worsening crisis" due to underfunding.

Dr Nick Waggett, chief executive of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, said: 

"These new figures confirm national prevalence data showing that mental illness amongst children and young people is increasing.

"It is important that the needs of the most unwell and vulnerable children are recognised and that investment is put into their care.

"At the same time, services must be expanded to meet the rise in mental health problems and address the long-standing shortfall in services for children, young people and their families."

Across England, 380,000 children and young people were treated by mental health services in 2018-19.

Richard Crellin, policy and research manager at The Children’s Society, said many more children require assistance, but are being turned down by the NHS:

"Our research found up to 110,000 10 to 17 year olds seeking help are being turned away because their problems were not deemed ‘serious’ enough.

"Those that are being seen have to wait 12 weeks between referral and treatment on average but this varies and we know some children are having to wait for up to a year.

"Being turned away and long delays can be incredibly detrimental for children and we know poor mental health has a real impact on a child’s chances at school and in life."

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