Social illness

Children’s mental health – calls for early intervention law

Legislation change is urgently called for by MQ as children of England face a mental health crisis.


The young people of England are bearing the burden of deepening mental health problems as the number needing treatment has risen by 39% in just one year, according to latest figures.


These numbers include children who are suicidal, self-harming, suffering serious depression or anxiety, and those with eating disorders. Hospital admissions for eating disorders are rising as well, with an 82% rise from 2019 to 2022.

The NSPCC described the figures as “alarming”.

Causes of the dramatic rise in both severity and prevalence of poor mental health for England’s children, according to experts, include austerity, social inequality, online harm and the pandemic. During the first year of the pandemic, 2020-21, under-18s being referred for NHS mental health treatment totalled 839,570. Staggeringly, in 2021-22, more than 1.1million children were referred.


“Early Intervention Services are recommended in the NHS because {evidence shows} these services improve outcomes for patients and save money. People in early intervention services also spend less time in hospital, which is good news for them, and saves the NHS money.”

Professor Belinda Lennox, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust


While some may consider it unusual for those under 18 to struggle with mental ill health, it is increasingly evident that this is the age mental illness is most likely to begin. And during these formative years, when our brains are developing, if problems are not addressed, they can become ingrained in our neurology, identity and become far harder to break free from later in life.

MQ has looked into the statistics:

  • 75% of MH problems start before adulthood and 50% of lifetime MH problems start before the age of 14.
  • 1 in 6 children have a diagnosable MH disorder and 1 in 4 17–19-year-olds. That’s 5 in every classroom.
  • Mental Ill-health represents up to 23% of the total burden of ill-health in the UK – the single largest cause of disability.
  • Around 43% of people on long-term health related benefits have a mental or behavioural condition.
  • .However, spending by local authorities on early intervention services for children and young people was cut by 50% between 2010/11 and 2020/21.


We at MQ have long been aware of improvements needed for the care of the mental health of young people and access to treatment being one of the areas most in need of change. That’s why we are supporting research projects into whether CAMHS referrals can be improved.

Early intervention can come in many forms including home visiting programmes, school based learning and mentoring schemes. Early intervention is about connection, education, information and prevention.

Early intervention can reduce risk factors for young people and increase protective factors leading to the best possible chance of lifelong recovery from mental illness. Without early intervention, children run the risk of developing life-long mental health conditions that cost the country more overall in healthcare, the workforce as well as preventing individuals from living full, productive, happy and healthy lives.

Despite all this, there is no existing legislation that makes early intervention in children’s mental health a statutory requirement. MQ passionately calls for a systemic overhaul to provide this early intervention legislation change in the new Mental Health bill.


You can donate to MQ now here.

You can also speak to the Samaritans any time by calling 116-123.

You can download the Hub of Hope app to access mental health support in your area any time.




Source link
#Childrens #mental #health #calls #early #intervention #law

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *