Last week was mental health awareness week. At Little Lives UK, we are doing everything we can to help make sure that many of London’s children can receive much needed support for their mental health issues. We want to highlight some of the key facts on the mental health problems that children and young people are currently experiencing.
There are some particularly worrying statistics regarding mental health among young people, most notably that 1 in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 15 years old have diagnosable mental health disorder. This is three in every school class, and more than 100,000 across London. Adding to this, nearly half of 17-19-year olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder have self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, rising to 52.7% for young women. At the end of 2020, 11,166 children and young people were waiting to be seen by NHS mental health services. This is largely a negative impact of Covid-19, due to children being away from schools and friends, which has unsurprisingly led to more child mental health problems.
The wait for mental health services
The need for mental health services has certainly increased. Currently less than 1 in 3 children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition can get access to NHS care and treatment. Additionally, less than 1% of the total NHS budget is spent on children and young people’s mental health services. More than 1,500 children with mental health problems had to wait a year or more for specialist help by the end of 2020. It is important to note that this is an estimated number, and the real figure is likely much higher. To find out more about waiting times for mental health services take a look at this BBC article.
So what does this mean?
Poor mental wellbeing in childhood and youth increases the likelihood in later life of:
- Poor educational attainment
- Antisocial behaviour
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Teenage pregnancy
- Involvement in criminal activity
Adults who experienced four or more adversities in their childhood are four times more likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Our ‘Someone To Talk To’ mental health project
In the last year these issues with mental health services have become much more apparent. The number of people across the country needing such services continues to drastically increase, mainly amongst children & young people. For these reasons, Little
Lives UK set up our ‘Someone to Talk to’ mental health project. The project will allow children at London based schools and other children’s organisations the opportunity to access mental health services with virtually no waiting time and importantly, for free!
As a charity, we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to make the children of London happier and healthier, not just for a moment, but for the rest of their lives. If you too want to help tackle this crisis, please take a look at our ‘Someone to Talk to’ mental health page and consider donating. Every donation we receive makes such a difference, as they’ll enable us to help more and more children.
Mental Health Awareness Week