(UK) Merseyside: Explosion in student mental health issues; call for more funding

Aug 5, 2018, Liverpool Echo: Alarming rise in number of Merseyside children with mental health issues Experts blamed the figures on outside pressures from school and social media An alarming rise in the number of Merseyside children with mental health issues is being blamed on pressures from school and social media. Data from NHS Digital shows there were 9,690 active referrals to children and young people’s mental health services in the area in April. The figures have increased from 8,095 referrals in April last year - a rise of 20%. Around 1,400 under 18 year olds were referred for mental health treatment for illnesses such as depression and psychosis, and eating disorders in April 2018. Councillor Barry Kushner, the cabinet member for children’s services in the Liverpool City Council, said: “The rise in the numbers of young people with mental health problems are not being matched by an increase in resources for mental health and early help services… He added that funding for the health of children and young people in Liverpool needs to be increased, and that only 5% of CCG spending on health was spent on children. … A spokesperson for the Liverpool CAMHS, which promotes wellbeing in young people, said: “The rise in mental health issues among children and young people can be attributed to a wide range of factors - including school pressures and social media. … They said: “By this they mean not enough pastoral staff in schools or teachers being adequately trained up in mental health. … The figure for Merseyside is made up of young people in the CCGs covering Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens, Halton, Knowsley, South Sefton and Southport and Formby. St Helens had the sharpest increase in active referrals - from 720 young people in April 2017 to 1,250 in April 2018. The rise in mental health problems in Merseyside reflects a growing national crisis. There were 389,727 active referrals to young people’s mental health services across England in April 2018 - the highest figure ever. It marks an 18% increase on April 2017… There were also 2,703 new cases of people receiving treatment for eating disorders between February and April - an increase of 47% on the same period last year. “Schools must also be given the resources and recognition they need to make children’s wellbeing a genuine priority.”