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BPS Policy Unit

Mental Health Awareness Week - Children and Young People

16 May 2018 | by BPS Policy Unit

In 2014 the organisation Young Minds conducted a survey of 5000 young people and asked what they were concerned about most. The survey revealed these were: school stress, bullying, unemployment, lack of support (when depressed or anxious) and poor sex education.

The Society believes that early intervention and timely access to care, support and treatment for children and young people is vital.

We are concerned that there is insufficient focus on prevention and the wider psychological and social determinants of mental health.

Greater emphasis on preventative measures would have a positive effect on reducing the number of children developing mental health issues, reducing demand on primary and specialist services and ensuring early intervention and quick access to specialist services for those who need it.

The state of children and young people’s mental health

  • Approximately 1 in 10 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition

  • Around one in four children and young people show signs of a mental health difficulty, including anxiety and depression

  • This means up to three children in every classroom may have a treatable mental health issue

  • Around 50 per cent of lifelong mental health problems develop before age 14, with 75 per cent developing before age 25

  • 10 per cent of 5-16 year olds in the UK have a diagnosable mental health condition, with conduct and emotional disorders most prevalent

  • Only 25-40 percent of these young people receive input from a mental health professional early enough, if at all.

Children and young people deserve better: Promoting mental health and wellbeing

The Society is calling for:

  • The reinstatement of robust, professional educational psychology early-intervention services for all children.

  • Increased access to support from applied psychologists, to ensure that a fully rounded understanding of pupils’ needs and required interventions is available to all schools. 

  • Whole school, universal, approaches to mental health support to be a focus for all schools.

  • Children and young people in vulnerable groups to be prioritised for improved access to CAMHS.

  • Development of evidence-based policy that addresses adverse childhood experiences.

  • The establishment of a county steering group which link to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for guidance and to resolve specific matters.

Click here to read the Society’s response to the Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision green paper.  

Nigel Atter (Policy Advisor)


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