Northern Ireland

Mental ill health 'a growing problem for young people'

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Image caption Mental ill health is a growing problem for young people in Northern Ireland, a new report suggests

Mental ill health among young people in Northern Ireland is a serious and growing problem, a new report suggests.

It was compiled by the Children's Law Centre and Save the Children and was endorsed by 58 groups including Barnardos and the NSPCC.

Save The Children chief Peter Bryson said the report shines "an uncomfortable spotlight on how we treat our children and young people".

It also highlights the damage inflicted on them by funding cuts, he said.

John Patrick Clayton from the Children's Law Centre said mental ill health was a "serious and growing" in Northern Ireland.

"A staggering 27% of the young people we surveyed reported having experienced a mental health concern and it is deeply concerning that only 37% had received help. 10% of children aged 15 and 16 have self-harmed."

He said that it was also "deeply concerning" that the number of children taken into custody for one or two nights has trebled since 2008.

"Children in care, the most vulnerable citizens and those in most need of protection, are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and in custody," he said.

The report also includes comments from 750 young people and a "significant number" of them felt that they had been "demonised" in their communities by police, adults and the media.

The report has been submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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