Thousands of children in Dorset struggling with mental health problems

Thousands of children in Dorset struggling with mental health problems

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:20am 6th August 2019.

New NHS data has revealed how many young people in the county are seeking help from mental health services.

New statistics shows that 3,955 people aged under 18 were seen at least twice by mental health services in Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group in 2018-2019. 

That is a ratio of 27 per every 1,000 children in the area, just below the national average of 32. 

A recent report by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) said child and adolescent mental health services are facing a "serious and worsening crisis" due to lack of funding. 

teenager legs and feet

Dr Nick Waggett, chief executive of the ACP, said:

"These new figures confirm national prevalence data showing that mental illness amongst children and young people is increasing.

"It is important that the needs of the most unwell and vulnerable children are recognised and that investment is put into their care." 

child reading

Across England, 380,000 children and young people were treated by these mental health services in the past year. 

Richard Crellin, policy and research manager at The Children's Society, said many more children require care, but are being turned down by the NHS. 

He said:

"Our research found up to 110,000 10 to 17-year olds seeking help are turned away because their problems were not deemed 'serious' enough. 

"Those that are being seen have to wait 12 weeks between referral and treatment on average but this varies and we know some children are having to wait up to a year."

In 2015, Dorset CCG introduced 'Dorset's Local Transformation Plan for Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health', which aimed to ensure access to the support in the right place as early as possible.