UK in grip of mental health crisis with children worst affected, new analysis finds

Royal College of Psychiatrists (08.04.21)

Children and young people are bearing the brunt of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, new analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found.

A year on from the first lockdown and after warnings from the mental health sector about the impact of the pandemic on the country’s mental health, NHS Digital data shows that while the crisis is affecting people of all ages, it is under-18s who are suffering most.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ analysis found that:

  • 80,226 more children and young people were referred to CYP mental health services between April and December last year, up by 28% on 2019, to 372,438.
  • 600,628 more treatment sessions were given to children and young people, up by a fifth on 2019 to 3.58 million.
  • 18,269 children and young people needed urgent or emergency crisis care – including assessments to see if someone needs to be sectioned because they or others are at harm – an increase of 18% on 2019, to 18,269.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for the additional £500 million in the Government’s mental health recovery plan to urgently reach the frontline so that people can get the support they need. This funding is on top of the existing planned investment in mental health services set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.