The number of young people have been referred to crisis care teams is at its highest point since before the pandemic
"...month after month we are seeing devastating new records of young people struggling to get treatment and support for their mental health, and month after month we are left waiting for the government to take action and end this intensifying crisis." Olly Parker, head of external affairs, YoungMinds
The numbers of children and young people referred to emergency mental health services have hit a record high, new figures show.
NHS data analysed by the mental health charity YoungMinds shows that 982 people under the age of 18 were referred to crisis care teams in in May 2022, the highest figure since before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also 37% higher than the previous month.
Open referrals to children and young people’s mental health services for May reached 457,387 – another record high.
The data also reveals that 11,878 children aged 10 to 14 antidepressants in 2021/22, as did 180,455 aged 15 to 19. Equivalent figures for the previous year were 10,994 and 166,922.
A survey carried out by the charity in July found that 37% of young people did not feel supported by their GP when they tried to access mental health support or advice.
Olly Parker, head of external affairs at YoungMinds, said: “These numbers paint a shocking picture of the situation young people in this country face when it comes to their mental health.
“For years, politicians have promised that they will get a grip of the crisis in young people’s mental health, including a recent commitment to a ten-year plan.
“But the reality is that month after month we are seeing devastating new records of young people struggling to get treatment and support for their mental health, and month after month we are left waiting for the government to take action and end this intensifying crisis.
“We urgently need to see a reversal in climbing waiting lists and record referrals figures. The government must urgently equip the NHS to deal with the immediate pressures services face.
“But they must also make sure they keep their promise in delivering a mental health plan that has a real focus on young people and sets clear goals, across the whole of government, for addressing this crisis.”
NHS figures continue to show increasing demand for mental health services, particularly from young people, and an increasing difficulty in meeting that demand. There is a clear need for government to invest in mental health support – but also to look at the reasons why so many young people are experiencing mental health problems and to help them before they reach crisis point. Our Mental Health Exemplar work is investigating how digital support tools can be used more effectively by commissioners to address mental health problems at an early stage and ease the burden on services. There are also many examples of good practice across the UK, for example Change Talks from Lancashire and South Cumbria FT. FCC believes it is essential that high quality, innovative approaches are available for all those in need of support.