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Children and young people with mental health problems

With good mental health, children and young people do better in every way. They are happier in their families, are able to learn better, do better at school, and enjoy friendships and new experiences. Childhood and teenage years are when mental health is developed and patterns are set for the future. So a child with good mental health is much more likely to have good mental health as an adult, and to be able to take on adult responsibilities and fulfill their potential.

Sadly, the society we live in can be bad news for the mental health of our children and young people in the UK:

  • Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health disorder (and that is just those that have been diagnosed)
  • One in five show signs of an eating disorder
  • One in 12 deliberately harm themselves (and 25,000 of them are hospitalised each year because of this)
  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression
  • Two young people kill themselves every day

Often demonised by society, thousands of children and young people are isolated, unhappy, have eating disorders and self harm, and some even commit suicide. Many are likely to become victims of crime, grow up in dysfunctional families, or are left to cope with illness, drugs and/or alcohol issues that are not even necessarily their own.

There is still a huge stigma around mental health which means children and young people are not getting the support they need. Disruptive, difficult, withdrawn and disturbed kids need to be supported and not just ignored or told off.

The policies and interventions presented in this collection are aimed at improving the emotional well being and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers.

This collection is made up of full text reports on children and young people with mental health problems, available to view free of charge

Our picks

Children's and adolescents' mental health and CAMHS: report, together with formal minutes relating to the report

There are serious and deeply ingrained problems with the commissioning and provision of Children’s and adolescents’ mental health services.

Missed opportunities

This study observes that mental health problems affect around one in ten children and young people, and one in five young adults, and are common, damaging, costly and persistent.

Lightning review: access to child and adolescent mental health services

The Children’s Commissioner has become concerned that not all children and young people are able to access children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

The truth about self-harm: for young people and their friends and families

This booklet provides guidance on self-harm and attempts to break down some of the taboos surrounding the topic.

Unprotected, overprotected: meeting the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation

This exploratory research study aimed to increase understanding of how to meet the needs of children and young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, child sexual exploitation.

Unprotected, overprotected: meeting the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation: executive summary

This UK-wide research study addresses a significant gap in current understanding of the sexual exploitation of children and young people with learning disabilities.

Supporting professionals to meet the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, child sexual exploitation: practice guide

The aim of this practice guide is to provide professionals with learning from an exploratory research study addressing the needs of children and young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, child sexual exploitation (CSE).

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