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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Intercollegiate statement on children and young people's mental health

Embargoed until 02 March 2011

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has joined with other organisations to call on the Government to recognise children’s mental health services as a priority.

A statement drawn up jointly by the RCPsych, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Division of Clinical Psychology from the British Psychological Society, recognises the common concerns of health professionals who provide services for children and calls for five key actions.

Mental disorders in children and young people are increasing and represent a hidden epidemic. This has significant implications for society as whole, both today and in the future. According to the statement, 1 in 10 under 16s have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and early-onset mental disorders are more likely to persist in adult life. A child who experiences a physical illness is 2-5 times more likely to develop an emotional disorder.

The statement identifies five key priorities for action:

  • improving the skills of the health care workforce
  • improving the quality of treatment so every child has timely access to evidence-based treatments
  • high quality commissioning and service planning
  • a commitment to increasing capacity for mental health services
  • improving the transition and collaboration between child and adult mental health services.

The organisations welcome the principles of the Government's new mental health strategy, No Health Without Mental Health and its approach to all-age outcome-focused care. However, concerns persist about affordability and local commitment to the investment needed to deliver satisfactory early intervention, care and treatment to children and young people with mental and emotional health needs.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896



The intercollegiate statement, Children and Young People's Mental Health, was published on 2 March 2011


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