Figures Show Mental Health Treatment For Under 11s Has Jumped Dramatically
It's easy to look at young kids and think that they're virtually the only group of people (not including babies) who have nothing to be depressed about.
They're kids after all - what could they possibly have to worry about? They're not yet old enough to grasp financial responsibility, heartbreak, stress at work and all the other things that go with being an adult.
But new figures released by children's charity NSPCC reveal that there are plenty of young kids who are being referred for mental health treatment.
Schools in England made 123,713 referrals since the 2014-15 year - with a little more than half of those students coming from primary schools. The BBC reports that the youngest person to be passed onto professional help was just three-years-old.
The NSPCC was able to get data from 53 of the 66 health trusts who provide mental health treatment and support to kids via a Freedom of Information request.
The charity's chief Peter Wanless said in a statement: "Our research shows schools are increasingly referring children for specialist mental health treatment, often when the child is at crisis point.
"We have seen a marked increase in counselling about mental health, and fully expect it to continue. It is vital that Government urgently provides more funding to Childline and help children who don't have access to support elsewhere."
Some children's cases were so severe that they were suicidal.
Other mental health issues that were highlighted were anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.
Further figures indicated that 18,870 kids under the age of 11 were given specialist help in the 2017-18 school year alone - that's a third more than the data gathered from three years ago.
NSPCC policy officer Alana Ryan told the Guardian: "It is worrying there are so many children being deemed as needing some kind of mental health support and whether or not that is mental health support that meets the clinical support threshold, it's still a need.
"When children come through to us, they speak about things like exam pressures, social media and not being able to get into specialist services, asking that we intervene on their behalf."
One of the problems mentioned in the report was the length of waiting times after being referred for specialist support - and sometimes that referral only comes when the child is on the brink.
The Government said it would limit maximum waiting times to four weeks however a study produced by NHS England found that the system was failing three-quarters of kids needing help.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Australians can call Lifeline on 131114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 18000 or visit the National Centre Against Bullying website.
Featured Image Credit: PA