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Number of children seeking mental health help more than doubles

By Jack Averty | Health | Published:

The number of under 18s battling mental health problems across the Black County has more than doubled, new figures show.

The number of 18s with mental health problems is on the rise

Nearly 8,000 children and teenagers were in contact with mental health services in the region in January this year, up by 105 per cent on the year before.

A total of 3,895 under 18s sought mental health help in January 2018.

It has been claimed the increase in the number of children and teenagers needing help is down to the rise of social media, exam stress and poverty.

In Wolverhampton, the number of under 18s accessing mental health services is up by 41 per cent. Analysis of NHS data by the Liberal Democrats shows 1,465 young people needed help in January this year, compared to 1,000 the year earlier.

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group saw a 200 per cent rise over the same period. 660 under 18s sought mental health help in 2018 compared to 1,980 this year.

Neighbouring Sandwell saw an increase of 900 patients, with 2,540 this year compared to 1,640 in January last year. This is an increase of 54 per cent.

Walsall Clinical Commissioning group saw a rise similar to Dudley, with the 595 in 2018 increasing by 237 per cent to 2,010 in January this year.

Mental health services covers a range of illnesses such as depression and psychosis, as well as eating disorders.

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Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Machnik-Foster said: "This research by the Liberal Democrats lays bare just how broken children’s mental health services are in much of our region. Families are left in a state of acute anxiety, desperately hoping no harm will come to their child whilst they wait.

"It is frankly not good enough, the government have failed in this area, lets make no bones about it. I cannot bare to hear more vacuous warm words from the government while young people in our area are facing real anguish, pain and suffering. One young person that is failed is one too many, it literally breaks my heart to see people fall through the cracks in the system.

"We have a mental health emergency and the government, local councils and the NHS need to do something real and concrete before its too late."

Latest government figures, released in 2018, show the number of children with a mental health disorder is on the rise, with one in eight under the age of 19 across England now affected.

Despite this, the number of under 18s seeking mental health help in Staffordshire has dropped year on year.

There were 3,700 in contact with mental health services in January 2018 compared to 3,545 in January this year.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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