UK Huff Post: MP asks "why so many children are unhappy"

Mar 26, 2018, (UK) Huffington Post: We Need To Understand Why So Many Children Are Unhappy—With such a rapid rise in demand for mental health services, it’s urgent we understand the causes of poor mental health A generation of children are calling for help with their mental health. There’s been a dramatic increase in self-harm – 19,000 children were admitted to hospital last year after hurting themselves, a 14% rise over three years. More and more young people tell us they feel anxious, depressed and have low self-esteem. It’s thought that as many as one in ten children has a diagnosable mental health condition and referrals to specialist treatment have gone up 44% in the last three years. … Mental health problems in childhood left untreated can lead to a lifetime of mental illness. … The Government has rightly recognised that urgent action is needed, and has brought the Departments of Health and Education together to work on improving children and young people’s mental health. Spending on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is increasing by £1.4billion over the next five years. … We need to get to the root of the problem. We need to understand what is causing so many children to feel depressed and anxious … We need to understand what it is about Britain today that is making children unhappy. We need to understand the new and emerging risks of social media and cyberbullying. We need to understand how childhood experiences, like domestic abuse or living with a parent with drug and alcohol can effect a child’s mental health, and intervene when we recognise a child is going through them. And we need to understand that other factors like family breakdown, bereavement, or living with parents who fight all the time can also have an impact on children’s mental health. Finally, we need to know what’s different for the children who go through those experiences yet don’t emerge with a mental health problem - so we can see what went right and how to replicate it…. But with such a rapid rise in demand for mental health services, it’s just as urgent that we understand the causes of poor mental health and what can be done to prevent mental illness. … Helen Whately is the Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid Kent