Mental health: Thousands of young people given no follow up treatment in 2017

Last updated at 14:22
Sad child with hand on her faceGetty Images

Thousands of young people in England, who are being put forward for mental health treatment, are not getting any help.

The research by the charity, the Children's Society, showed that in 2017, 185,000 children aged 10-17 were referred for mental health support after speaking to their doctor (GP).

But only 79,000 children went to receive treatment in that year.

That means that 60% of those who were referred for mental health support didn't receive any - around 110,000 young people in total.

The research was based on a Freedom of Information request - this is where the public can ask for data from the government that they can then look at.

Why are young people not being supported?
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The report, which looked at figures from 26 mental health trusts in England, found that the waiting times to get mental health treatment on the National Health Service (NHS) are often incredibly long.

In some areas of the country, young people diagnosed with anxiety and depression are waiting up to a year for their first treatment.

Even children diagnosed with very serious mental health problems are waiting 83 days on average to get support from the NHS after their first referral.

Sam Royston, who is the Policy and Research Director for the Children's Society, says this is a "scandal".

The NHS estimates that 1 in 8 young people aged between 5 and 19 had a mental illness in 2017Getty Images
The NHS estimates that 1 in 8 young people aged between five and 19 had a mental illness in 2017

According to the mental health charity Mind, mental health issues are common.

They estimate that every year, one in four adults in the UK will report having a mental health issue.

In 2016, the government said that they would give mental health treatment to an extra 70,000 children and young people each year until 2020-21.

NHS data suggested that they were on target, with 30.5% of children getting funded treatment, compared to a previous figure of 25%.

But there are some concerns about this figure.

32% of parents of children aged between 4 and 17 said their child had been affected by a mental health issue in 2018Getty Images
32% of parents of children aged between four and 17 said their child had been affected by a mental health issue in 2018

The National Audit Office - a group of people that check the accuracy of data - said that the NHS "does not yet have consistent and reliable data available on the number... of young people accessing treatment each year".

This means that while more young people were being put forward for funded treatment, this could be because there are more young people trying to access mental health services than before.

There are calls to provide more support within the NHS and other areas.

This may mean teachers being trained to identify mental health problems and hiring school counsellors to support students.

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There are lots of charities that provide support to young people with mental health worries, including the NSPCC, YoungMinds and the Children's Society.

If you are upset by this news, make sure you talk about how you are feeling with friends or a trusted adult.

If you are struggling and there is no one you feel you can talk to about it, you can call Childline for free on 0800 11 11. This number does not show up on your phone bill.

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