Dr Jon Goldin, vice chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:
“These figures paint a predictably harrowing picture of young people’s mental health. Particularly concerning is the rise in emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, affecting almost 6% of all five to 15 year-olds.
“What makes matters worse is that we know that the services designed to treat these issues are still underfunded and under resourced. The number of consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists has dropped by 6.9% since 2014, and 60% of training places for child and adolescent psychiatry are currently unfilled.
“The government target is to treat just a third of young people with mental health conditions, but the Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the Government’s long term plan to increase this target to 70%.
“We know that intervening early can help prevent mental health problems in children from escalating and developing into adulthood, and the green paper on child and adolescent mental health has rightly set in place measures to have Designated Senior Leads and Mental Health Support Teams in schools. But the rollout of these initiatives is far too slow. At the rate it’s going, in some parts of the country children currently aged 8 years old won’t see any interventions in place until they’re 18 and have left school.
“If the ambition is to help more children with their mental health problems, these initiatives must be put in place sooner.”