Pandemic leaves children fearful, lonely and suffering NHS survey finds.


New figures suggest that one in four children in the northwest have had mental health problems since the start of the coronavirus lockout.

Young people are urged to seek help after worrying statistics showed a sharp increase in mental health problems in children during the pandemic period.

It is estimated that one in four children in the Northwest had mental health problems during the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout England, children and adolescents with a probable mental health disorder were more likely to report that inclusion made their lives worse (54.1% of 11-16 year olds and 59.0% of 17-22 year olds) than those who were unlikely to have a mental health disorder (39.2% and 37.3% respectively).

These figures represent an increase from the last survey of the Group in 2017, when 8.5% had a probable mental disorder and 11.6% a possible mental disorder.

An NHS survey of children and young people aged 5-16 years in July this year found that 16.6% had a probable mental disorder and a further 8.2% had a possible mental disorder.

Children with probable mental disorders were not only potentially more affected by the economic impact of the pandemic, but also had a greater fear of the virus.

Throughout England, children with a probable mental disorder were more than twice as likely to live in a household that was behind in payments (16.3%) than children who were unlikely to have a mental disorder (6.4%).

Also, the probability of not having eaten a family meal all week (4.8%) and not having spent time with the family (6.0%) was about five times higher than for children who were unlikely to have a mental disorder (0.9% and 1.0%, respectively).

Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS England Associate National Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, said: “As the whole country continues to find ways to live with the pandemic, many children and young people will experience a range of feelings such as fear, sadness and loneliness, which are understandable responses to such an uncertain and stressful situation.

England’s leading paediatrician for mental health encourages young people to seek help when they need it.

“Simple steps like getting enough sleep, talking to friends or family and making sure your child has a simple routine can make a big positive difference.

“And the NHS, Children’s Services, schools, colleges and the voluntary sector are working together to provide a range of support services, including round-the-clock crisis helplines, personal, telephone or digital appointments and support in schools so that problems can be identified earlier and help offered.

A statement from the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “Alder Hey offers a range of comprehensive services to children and young people facing mental health problems. Children and young people can also refer to themselves through our website

“In addition, our crisis care team provides a 24-hour helpline to support young people and their families who need help and advice in emergencies. Anyone who urgently needs this support should contact 08081 963 550”.


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