New government estimates show the number of children receiving treatment for mental health issues is at an all-time high with over 120,000 five to 16 year-olds diagnosed with a clinical mental health problem in the UK.

NHS statistics also showed that half of those adults with long-term problems such as depression and anxiety will have experienced their first symptoms before the age of 14.

Mental health charity, Young Minds believe the statistics show the need for more treatments based in school and the community rather than in mental health units, which believes can be "intimidating" for children.

Their chief executive Sarah Brennan said: "Intervening early when a child or young person starts struggling to cope is proven to reduce the likelihood of that young person developing much more severe and entrenched mental health problems.

"It is vital that we invest in children and young people's mental health in order to prevent a generation of children suffering entrenched mental health problems as adults."

The government recently announced an extra £22m funding to tackle child mental health over the next three years and new data from NHS Trusts including Solent and Sussex have shown the importance of providing state-of-the art psychological therapies and training for community workers.

NHS Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Sussex estimated it was working with over 1,000 11 to 18-year-olds with anxiety and/or depression, while NHS Solent revealed it had 702 young people suffering referred to it for a range of mental health therapies between September 2010 and August 2011.

Recent research has shown that children are coming under increasing stress because of unemployment, financial problems and substance abuse among their parents.

For more on mental health issues affecting children visit www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk 

Posted 30/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com