'Worrying increase' in children across Warwickshire seeking help for mental health issues

Mental health news.
Mental health news.

A spokesperson for mental health services for young people in Warwickshire has spoken of a ‘worrying’ trend after data obtained by the Advertiser revealed referrals increased by more than half in the last five years.

Referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Coventry and Warwickshire increased from 4,452 in 2012-13 to 7,323 in 2016-17.

Despite the rise in referrals there have been no completed suicides in young people known to the service in the last five years.

Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust states it does not hold statistics on suicide attempts – so a figure cannot be obtained.

Tracey Wrench, director of operations for Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “The position in Coventry and Warwickshire is part of a worrying increase in demand for mental health and emotional wellbeing services for children and young people nationwide.

“However, we are working hard alongside other organisations across the area to meet this steep increase in demand for care.”

Andrew Sjurseth, commissioning development manager and CAMHS Commissioner for Warwickshire County Council, said: “There has been a lot of positive work done.

"Particularly focused on the resilience of the service, early intervention and reducing unnecessary demand on specialist services by ensuring people are provided with the right care for their particular circumstance in the right way at the right time.

“We are proud of the fact there have been no completed suicides amongst those using the CAMHS service for some time.

"This has come about as a result of the hard work and efforts of all partner organisations involved, carers and support staff, the family and friends of service users and, of course, service users.”

The rise in referrals for young people to mental health services in the area matches a nationwide trend.

Data covering 60 per cent of NHS mental health trusts revealed around 250,000 children were receiving mental health care in England - with 11,849 of those receiving help aged five or under.

The last 25 years have seen a 70 per cent increase in rates of depression and anxiety in teenagers .

A variety of factors, including the rise of social media, have been blamed for the significant increase.

Although some argue part of the increase in reports of mental illness could be because young people feel more able to discuss mental health issues.

The issue was recently highlighted in a Government report which suggested schools can play a big role in alleviating mental health problems in teenagers.

Evidence shows mental health problems and suicidal feelings can be alleviated by getting the correct help.

Anyone can call the Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org

Papyrus is a charity focused on preventing suicide in young people. Call 0800 068 41 41 or visit www.papyrus-uk.org