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The worrying and worsening mental health crisis in children and young people

It has been reported that thousands of young people have attempted suicide due to the long wait times to access mental health treatment. 

New research from YoungMinds, a mental health charity for children, young people and their parents, has found that over a quarter (26 per cent) of the 14,000 young people they surveyed attempted suicide as a result of having to wait for support. Sadly, Irwin Mitchell has experience in representing bereaved families following the loss of a child or young person to suicide.

End the Wait campaign

YoungMinds has launched its “End the Wait” campaign which calls on the Government to end the crisis in young people’s mental health and the lengthy wait to access support and treatment. 

The charity asked children and young people under the age of 25 for their experiences in accessing mental health support. More than half said that their mental health worsened during the wait to access support and nine per cent said that they were turned away from the service altogether. 

Mental health services at breaking point

The country’s mental health services are at breaking point, worsened by the impact of the pandemic, and children and young people are affected significantly.

NHS data has revealed that 66,389 children aged 19 and under were referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in April 2022. That is a 109 per cent increase compared to before the pandemic. 

In the year 2021 to 2022, more than 11,000 children aged 10 to 14 were prescribed antidepressants along with 180,455 young people aged 15 to 19. 

Supporting families affected by mental health issues

Irwin Mitchell has experience in representing families where children and young people have struggled to access mental health services. Sadly, we know from experience that a number of young people fall between the gaps as they transition from child to adult mental health services. The effects of the pandemic will undoubtedly be putting pressure on an already stretched and limited service.

The mental health crisis affecting children and young people is getting worse but cuts in funding mean that time and resources are being diverted away from those who need it most. 

More than half a million young people are being treated for their mental health each month; that’s one child or young person referred to the NHS for mental health support every 30 seconds. Whilst the numbers remain at this critical level, the pressure on the NHS increases and the delays in providing support and treatment result in young people’s mental health worsening, many to critical levels.

YoungMinds is calling on people to sign up to its campaign and to write to their MP for increased funding and support for mental health services.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and their families affected by issues in mental health care at our website.  

Thousands of young people have attempted suicide while enduring long waits for mental health treatment, a charity has warned.

New research from YoungMinds on almost 14,000 young people found a quarter (26%) had tried to take their own life as a result of having to wait for help.”