The Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that councils are experiencing a huge surge in the number of children with mental health disorders, in what experts have called a “children’s mental health crisis”.
According to the latest statistics, there were more than 205,000 cases where a child was identified as having a mental health issue, such as anxiety and depression, in 2017-18.
This represents an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to the last recorded figures in 2014-15 when the number of cases stood at around 133,000.
In total, it means that more than 560 new cases of children with mental health disorders are reported to social services every day.
The research has been published ahead of the LGA’s Annual Conference, in which council bosses are calling for urgent help to keep on top of the “children’s mental health crisis”.
According to the LGA, the Government need to provide at least £3.1 billion in additional funding to close the gap in what children’s services receive and what they actually need to work safely.
Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said it is essential that local authorities are properly funded if social services are to “give children the care and support they need, and prevent them from developing mental illness”.
“It is clear we are facing a children’s mental health crisis, and councils are struggling to provide the support young people so desperately need,” she said.
“Significant funding pressures in children’s services and public health mean many councils are being forced to cut some of the vital early intervention services which can support children with low-level mental health issues and avoid more serious problems in later life.”