UK children with mental health difficulties ‘go an average of ten years’ before treatment

Research published by an independent charity, the Centre for Mental Health (CMH), has revealed that UK children typically wait an average of ten years to seek advice following their first experience of mental health difficulties.

The research, which found that ignorance and uncertainty surrounding mental health issues, and a lack of support for families were the main causes for the ten-year delay, also claimed that late treatment has been costing the UK approximately £105 billion per year.

Andy Bell, CMH’s deputy chief executive, said that the figures also proved that problems among British children were more common than most parents and teachers realised.

“Three children in every classroom are affected at any one time, yet only a minority of children with mental health problems get any help,” Mr Bell said.

One in ten children in the study were found to have been affected by mental health problems at some point between the ages of five and 16.

The research suggested that there were potentially 900,000 British children suffering for several years without seeking any support.

In light of CHM’s study, along with additional studies in the field, The Mental Health Taskforce wants an extra one million people to be receiving treatment for their conditions by 2020.

The NHS, which referred to mental health treatment as a “poor relation”, pledged that it would commit an additional £1 billion in funding to the cause by the same deadline.

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