Number of young people seeking mental health support almost doubles

The new self-referral service is open to young people who have yet reported their abuse Picture: GE

According to the chief executive at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, the number of young people seeking mental health support has almost doubled - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of children and young people seeking mental health support in Suffolk has almost doubled, according to the chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.  

This comes after a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that numbers of young people being referred to mental health services across England has also nearly doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels.  

The report found that between April and June this year, 190,271 young people under the age of 18 were referred to mental health services in England.    

In 2019 over the same period, it was recorded that 97,342 young people were referred to children and young people’s mental health services.  

Urgent referrals have also increased from 5,219 in April to June in 2019 to 8,552 in 2021. 

Stuart Richardson chief operating officer at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), sa

Stuart Richardson, chief executive at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Archant

Stuart Richardson, chief executive at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, explained that the pandemic has played a role in exacerbating mental health.  

He said: “The pandemic has inevitably had an impact on the nation’s mental health but as the Royal College of Psychiatrists highlight, the NHS is helping more children and young people than ever before. 

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“In Suffolk we have seen referrals almost double compared to last year and our staff are working hard to meet this increased demand.

"As well as setting up a mental health crisis line, we have also put more support in schools so help is available at an earlier stage, we are providing online workshops for parents and carers and we are also working with partners in the voluntary sector to provide support to people while they are waiting for treatment."

Woman Speaking At Support Group Meeting For Mental Health Or Dependency Issues

The pandemic has had an impact on mental health - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tom Madders, director of campaigns at YoungMinds, says more needs to be done. 

“It is devastating that so many children and young people are in need of mental health support and that there has been such a rise in those who need crisis care,” he said.  

"The Government must urgently invest in children's mental health services and properly fund mental health support in schools, but there must also be much better support for young people before they reach crisis.”  

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