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20/07/21 – ‘One in Eight’ Children in High Income Countries Have A Mental Health Disorder At Any Given Time

This is the terrifying conclusion of a new article published on 19th July 2021 in the BMJ Journal ‘Evidence-Based Mental Health.’

Authors of ‘Prevalence of childhood mental disorders in high-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis to inform policymaking’ (Source)

allege that:

‘An estimated one in eight children have mental disorders at any given time, causing symptoms and impairment, therefore requiring treatment. Yet even in higher-income countries, most children with mental disorders are not receiving services for these conditions. We discuss the implications, particularly the need to substantially increase public investments in effective interventions. We also discuss the policy urgency, given the emerging increases in childhood mental health problems since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Data was analysed from 11 countries, including Britain and the USA; the studies involved 61,545 children aged 0-18 and the analysis showed that overall 12.7% presented with a mental disorder.

The most prevalent were:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder involving argumentative behaviour
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse-induced disorder

Dr Simon Fraser, from the University of Vancouver said:

‘Only 44.2 per cent of children with mental disorders received any services… in contrast, robust services are in place for child physical health problems such as cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases in most of these countries.’

The research findings are deeply instructive for Westminster, as the Government prepares its largest piece of mental health legislation since the 1983 Mental Health Act. They have exposed, as the authors state:

‘An invisible crisis in children’s mental health…. A high prevalence of childhood mental health disorders coupled with unacceptable service shortfalls in high-income countries to a degree that violates children’s rights…….Many countries will need to substantially increase children’s mental health budgets. This is particularly urgent given documented increases in children’s mental health needs since Covid-19.’

Director of The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign, Helen Clark said:

‘These latest figures plus the priority – or lack of priority given to mental health services are shocking – but not surprising.

An unacceptable climate of complacency has set in, and as our own MPs prepare to leave Westminster for the sunny Summer Recess and settle into their constituencies, they should and must be challenged.

I am asking all registrants to makes an appointment to see their constituency surgery to ask them:

  • What percentage of schools in their constituency has a trained Mental Health Lead in post?
  • What percentage of schools has a Mental Health Support Team in place?
  • If they will use the resultant figures to write to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, demanding a timescale for 100% coverage of both in that particular constituency.

Please contact Helen Clark:  with any and all responses you get from your MP; both negative and positive.

They will all be used.

Please help The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign to help children today.