Better access to mental health services for children and young people needed in the community says RCGP

Publication date: 22 November 2018

Responding to new data on children and young people's mental health, published by NHS Digital today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Today's data shows a profoundly concerning rise in the number of children and young people experiencing mental health issues – but this won't come as a surprise to GPs and our teams, who are the first port of call for many of these young patients when they seek help.

"One striking and stark trend is the growing number of young women suffering from emotional disorders, such as depression and anxiety. This could be an indication of greater awareness of mental health problems in society, and more people being willing to come forward and seek medical attention for them – but it is also a reflection that it is an incredibly stressful time to be a young person.

"Social media can perpetuate unrealistic expectations for people to live up to, and it can make the pressures of life relentless and inescapable, which can certainly have a negative and serious impact on people's mental health and wellbeing.

"The College has been calling for better access to specialist mental health services for children and young people in the community for some time. We desperately need more, and more varied, mental health services, close to home where they can be of most benefit for our patients – and GPs need to have better and quicker access to these services for our patients.

"NHS England's GP Forward View pledged for every GP practice to have access to one of 3,000 new mental health therapists – we need this delivered in full and as a matter of urgency. We also need more time to spend with our patient with complex conditions, which mental health conditions almost always that we can continue to provide the best possible mental health care to our young patients."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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