Presently 1 in 10 young people have a mental health problem. That’s the equivalent of 3 in every classroom. Therefore, around 720,000 children aged between 5 and 16 are experiencing a mental health problem in England and this number is rising.
An average of 23% of children who get referred are turned away due to insufficient resources to treat them and at present only 0.7% of NHs funding is spent on young people’s mental health. Also, of the 720,000 children with mental health issues a vast amount are not referred in the first place, a staggering 75% of people with mental health issues do not get access to treatment. The other growing problem is that often children are only sent for treatment or help when the condition is well advanced.
The impact of having a mental health issue is devastating to the child and the economy. Young people with mental health issues are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs, more likely to not attend school and fall behind in their education and more likely to earn less money as adults or even more likely to experience unemployment and people who have mental health issues die on average about 15-20 years earlier than people without mental health issues. As well as this personal cost the estimated long term cost to the economy of mental health problems is £105bn a year.
Classroom disruption through ill-discipline is a growing issue as is absence from school through phobias and lack of confidence or mental illness. This means that many children are missing a fulltime education and we all know that the less education one has the greater the risk of cost to society, whether through crime, poverty or lack of knowledge of society and its rules. Low educated groups can, as one example, enter the social care service some 20yrs earlier than an educated and vibrant senior 50yrs plus compared with 70yrears plus. That is an extra 20 years in the care system and pressure on the NHS.