ITV News Reporter Pablo Taylor visited a school in Birmingham after NHS statistics revealed that mental health has declined by 40% amongst children in education
Adults are being urged to do more to support children’s wellbeing as over 100,000 counselling sessions were delivered for mental health year-on-year, according to the NSPCC.
The children’s charity said mental and emotional health and wellbeing was the top reason children contacted the Childline service in 2022-23, accounting for over half of the counselling sessions delivered.
One girl, 16, told Childline: “I’m exhausted and feel like everything is falling apart. My friends are all stressed and depressed. My parents are fighting constantly with me trying to mediate.
"Then there’s exams as well. It’s all so stressful. I can’t remember what it’s like to be a carefree child."
An estimated 14,000 children were counselled for low mood in 2022-23, with 105,000 counselling sessions delivered where the child’s main concern was mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
The NSPCC is calling on the government to commit to funding and delivering mental health support teams across all schools and colleges in order to reach every pupil and student who needs help.
The charity said the target of access for 50% of pupils by April 2025 “lacks the sense of urgency needed”.
It also called on adults to do more to support children’s wellbeing by helping them feel supported and reassured and “not judged”.
The Department for Health and Social Care has promised to invest an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2024.
It comes as a small new study found that parents’ experiences of racism affect their children’s mental health.
Experts from the Centre for Mental Health and King’s College London also found that parents feel impacts on their own mental health when their children are subject to racial abuse.
Meanwhile political leaders have faced calls to prioritise mental health ahead of the next general election.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists said there is a “public mental health emergency”.
Dr Lade Smith, president of the College, said: “Almost 1.4 million people with suspected mental illness are still waiting to start treatment.
“While patients are waiting, too many will end up in A&E in crisis where they are often forced to spend days waiting for an inpatient bed.
“These delays make recovery from mental illness so much harder and cost the NHS and the economy more in the long run.
“The public mental health emergency is real. It is having a devastating effect on the lives of thousands of people, particularly children and young people.”
Childline can be accessed via childline.org.uk or by calling 0800 11 11.
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