- Nearly 400,000 children and 2.2m adults seek help for mental health problems during the pandemic
- 1.68m more mental health sessions delivered during the pandemic
- Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the additional £500m (including the £79m for children) promised for mental health to urgently reach the frontline to help tackle the crisis
- 80,226 more children and young people were referred to CYP mental health services between April and December last year, up by 28% on 2019, to 372,438.
- 600,628 more treatment sessions were given to children and young people, up by a fifth on 2019 to 3.58 million.
- 18,269 children and young people needed urgent or emergency crisis care - including assessments to see if someone needs to be sectioned because they or others are at harm - an increase of 18% on 2019, to 18,269.
Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“Our children and young people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic and are at risk of lifelong mental illness.
“As a frontline psychiatrist I’ve seen the devastating effect that school closures, disrupted friendships and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic have had on the mental health of our children and young people.
“Services were already struggling to cope with the number of children needing help before the pandemic hit, and they risk being overrun unless government ensures the promised money reaches the frontline quickly.”
Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“The extent of the mental health crisis is terrifying, but it will likely get a lot worse before it gets better.
“Services are at a very real risk of being overrun by the sheer volume of people needing help with their mental illness.
“While the recent funding announcement is welcome, we need this money to reach mental health services as soon as possible to tackle this crisis.”
Sarah (not her real name), whose teenage daughter relapsed into anorexia during the pandemic, said:
"The pandemic has been devastating for my daughter and for our family. She has anorexia and was discharged from an inpatient unit last year, but the disruption to her normal routines and socialising really affected her recovery. She was spending a lot less time doing the things she enjoys and a lot more time alone with her thoughts.
"Unfortunately, she relapsed, becoming so unwell she was admitted to hospital and sectioned. After 72 days in hospital with no specialist eating disorder bed becoming available, we brought her home where I am now tube-feeding her daily. My daughter urgently needs specialist help for this life-threatening illness, but because of increased demand services are completely overwhelmed. It's a terrifying situation to be in."