Doctors seeing patients as young as seven with anxiety in Wales

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said GPs have seen a rise in the number of patients with anxiety.

Dr Shanti Karupiah said she sees around four people with anxiety a day and she is just one GP in a practice in Gowerton, which has 15 in total.

She said she has also seen someone as young as seven who is living with anxiety and that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue.

We're seeing an alarming rise in the number of patients with anxiety symptoms...

Dr Shanti Karupiah, RCGP advocate for Swansea Bay University Health Board
Jannat first experienced a panic attack when she was at university. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Jannat Ahmed, from Barry, is the editor of a magazine. She is also living with anxiety.

I suddenly felt this inability to talk during a class and I had no idea why and it was closely followed by this horrible pain in my chest. It took several doctors visits to diagnose that it was anxiety.

JANNAT AHMED

The majority of people with anxiety will not need to go to A&E because of their condition but in some health boards in Wales, the number who are has been rising.

3,000

people were admitted to A&E because of anxiety in the Swansea Bay Health Board area last year.

66

In Powys, referrals for children with anxiety rose from 6 patients in 2018 to 66 in 2019.

34%

rise in admissions to A&E in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area for anxiety in five years.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board do not separate anxiety from other psychological or psychiatric conditions but the number of admissions into emergency departments in the health board's area for patients with those conditions rose from 84 in 2012 to 250 in 2017.

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board saw a decrease in the number of patients with anxiety going to A&E.

The Welsh Government said it is investing more in mental health services than on any other part of the NHS.

It said, "Responding to mental health needs requires a range of support, which we are working to improve.”

Credit: PA

Mind Cymru said more people are coming forward to ask for help as attitudes change towards mental health.

Our own research shows that 40% of GP visits now include an element of mental health discussion. This doesn’t necessarily mean that more people are experiencing anxiety or any other mental health problem. More people are coming forward and asking for help which is very positive and we would encourage anyone worried about their mental health to speak to their GP.

GLENN PAGE, MIND CYMRU

For support, you can contact Mind Cymru on 0300 123 3393, email info@mind.org.uk or text 86463.