Seventy children are treated at A&E for mental illness every day, four times as many as ten years ago, and shocking statistics unveiled 26,582 under 18s were rushed to casualty units in England and treated for psychiatric problems in the year to the close of April.
The year before it was 22 per cent lower, at 21,814, and 10 years ago, the figure was relatively low at 6,192, and the distressing figures cover children with conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating irregularities, personality disorders and addictive behaviours.
Children should never end up in the emergency wards because early intervention should have taken place, and increasing levels of poverty, isolation, social media influence and poor future prospects could be contributing to more children suffering from psychiatric problems.
These figures are profoundly troubling and it confirms that children are being let down, and by investing in prevention we can lessen the number of children who end up in a hospital bed.
Treatment and waiting times are considerably long, and children experiencing issues with mental health should never end up in A&E, and it’s a breakdown of the system that they do.
Long waiting times and high thresholds to access children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) indicates that multiple children only get treatment when they hit breaking point, and it’s essential that children are able to obtain immediate support and use services like mental health drop-in centres without requiring an appointment to prevent their problems getting any more serious.
Our children’s well being is in decline and a shockingly large amount of young people resort to self-harm. The reasons include problems around school and appearance to social media, bullying and even sexuality and gender stereotypes.
And it was discovered that teens consuming more than three hours a day on social media are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those who limited their time on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as increasing poverty and reduced prospects was further feeding the crisis amongst children, with young people reporting increasing levels of isolation and hopelessness, and our government needs to urgently evaluate the current crisis in recruitment and maintenance of the mental health workforce.
The amount of child and adolescent psychiatrists have dropped five per cent in the past five years, while referrals in the past three have risen by 44 per cent, with 23,686 mental health workers quitting mid-June 2017 and May 2018.
And one in 10 mental health posts were vacant, and it’s disturbing that there’s been such a visible increase in young people coming into A&E requiring mental health support, and the chief reason crisis services are so overstretched is because young people who are struggling don’t get the help soon enough, which means problems can intensify.
There are many young people who go to A&E because they don’t know where else to turn, but A&E can be a packed and stressful environment and it’s not normally the best place to get proper help.
Less than a third of affected children get assessed treatment and support, and it shockingly takes an average of 10 years from the first onset of mental health symptoms before young people get the right help, and it’s now imperative that the government prioritise children’s mental health, and it was discovered spending on low-level children’s mental health services by both councils and NHS trusts, which covers early intervention had fallen in more than a third of local areas, which means more limited funding for vital drop-in centres, online counselling and school nurses.
Children experiencing anxiety and depression aren’t asking for intensive inpatient therapeutic treatments, they simply want to speak to a counsellor and be advised on how to prevent problems from turning into a crisis, because all these cuts have consequences.
Sadly this had got just as much to do with Labour as the Tories, with all the money being used on illegal wars by Labour that could have been spent on the NHS, and those poor lads who fought for their country, they can’t get the treatment they need.
They were treated as heroes when they went to war, but since their return, they’ve been seriously let down, it’s not only the children that they’ve failed but then this is Tory Britain at its very best with all their austerity and cutbacks which are affecting families and mental health problems which have gone through the roof.
This government is utterly repugnant and evil and we need a change.