Child Mental Health Issues 'Being Missed'

Children Often Suffer Mental Health Problems Without The Benefits Of Diagnosis Or Treatment Due To Stigma And Misunderstanding

25.03.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Mental health issues faced by children are often going untreated because adults fail to spot clues showing problems could exist, according to a new report.

A study by a series of child and adolescent mental health groups have found two-thirds of adults were not clear on the signs of depression in children, which affects over 850,000 youngsters in the UK, the BBC reports.

MindEd has established a new website offering information and advice to raise awareness of the issue and where to get help. It is backed by organisations like the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and includes information on mental health, as well as other issues affecting youngsters like child protection and obesity.

Explaining the findings in a Scrubbing Up report for the BBC website, Dr Raphael Kelvin, child psychiatrist and clinical lead for the MindEd programme, noted most people believed schools should have dedicated staff on hand to tackle such matters.

"When we polled the public on the issue, 69 per cent said they supported the notion that every school should have a dedicated member of staff on site for children to approach about mental health and well-being issues," he remarked.

Dr Kelvin added: "Half of all diagnosable mental health conditions start before the age of 14 and 75 per cent by the age of 21," noting that spotting these problems early and dealing with them can bring great benefits. Conversely, failure to do so can bring various costs for wider society in terms of poor general health, lost education and jobs, plus crime.

Among the problems in tackling such issues he noted are a continuing stigma over mental health, as just over half of adults surveyed admitted they were afraid of approaching the issue.

The MindEd campaign receives £3 million a year in funding from the Department of Health, with care minister Norman Lamb commenting that it is "essential" to spot and treat mental health problems in children at the earlier possible opportunity.

We can help you to claim compensation for clinical negligence if a serious injury or fatality has occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and care. See our Mental Health Negligence Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
Mental healthcare is an area of extreme concern as we have seen first-hand horrendous cases whereby people have been failed by health services and have not been protected properly, the consequences of which can be fatal.

“Just because mental health problems can be difficult to spot and diagnose does not mean they should not be given the same attention. Mental problems are often very debilitating and although victims my appear to be fine, inside they may be suffering silently.

“it is crucial that any mental health issues which can be dealt with at an early age are picked up as the impact on their lives, and the cost of further healthcare, can be very significant."
Mandy Luckman, Partner