New statistics put spotlight on mental health of children and young people

21 November 2023

New statistics released today by NHS England show that the number of children and young people struggling with their mental health remains high, with a significant increase in the prevalence of eating disorders.

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“Behind today’s stark statistics is a generation of children and young people whose mental health has suffered the twin-blow of a global pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis, without appropriate support to help them weather the storms. Particularly alarming is the vertiginous rise in eating disorders over the past six years. Child and adolescent mental health services have long struggled due to underfunding and workforce issues, and now urgently require investment as demand rises exponentially. While the new mental health teams set up within schools to support children experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues is a step in the right direction, we’re concerned they will be spread too thinly in the face of rising demand. And they will not be able to help the many young people experiencing more severe mental illness, who require life-saving support in schools and the community while they await treatment from mental health services. With mental illness often emerging in adolescence, the government must seize the opportunity to deliver on its promise to make long-term decisions for a brighter future, by investing in mental health services for children and young people.”