CHILD SUICIDES MAY HAVE INCREASED DURING LOCKDOWN
New research from the National Child Mortality Database suggests that child suicides may have increased during the Covid-19 lockdown (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-uk-child-suicide-mental-health-nhs-a9617671.html) .
Potential factors are isolation, tensions within the home, school closures and disruption to care services. In 48% of the cases, Covid-19 –related issues or social restriction due to lockdown were thought to be contributory factors.
36% of the children had been in contact previously with social care or mental health services and 24% already possessed a diagnosis of hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder (ADHD) and autism.
Ellen Townsend, Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham said:
‘I m worried that those who are already vulnerable will be struggling even more. The good news is that talking therapies really help.’
Helen Clark, Campaign Manager for the Child Mental Health Charter Campaign said that the new findings were a frightening illustration of the very urgent need to ensure that children’s mental health and essential services to help them were treated as ‘an absolute top priority’ by the Government. Referring to new EDM 685 tabled by Dr Lisa Cameron MP in the House of Commons she said:
Obviously we cannot draw definitive conclusions from one snapshot survey, circumscribed by time limits, but as it stands, these new findings are a frightening indication of what may be to come.
Even before the pandemic, children’s mental health services were in a parlous state; subject to endless warm words, ‘pilot’ or ‘trailblazer’ schemes – or whatever the Government chooses to call lip-serving warm-word substitutes for radical legislation that would, for the very first time, recognise that children’s mental health services are in crisis – that their mental health needs are not going to vanish (and have in fact been severely worsened as a consequence of the pandemic) and that what is needed is legislation; funding that is fair and not post-coded and real support for children, their families and the professionals who are doing their very best to help them – on a shoestring.
I urge everyone now to contact their MP as of urgency and ask them to sign this excellent EDM, telling the Prime Minster to deliver on his promise to reform the 1989 Mental Health Act and to ensure that the needs of children are at its heart.
What we are seeing now represents the very tip of the iceberg.
Please contact your MP NOW – and maybe save the life of a child.
Helen Clark, Campaign Manager, The Child Mental Health Charter