Thousands of young people ‘ attempt suicide ’ waiting for NHS treatment


THOUSANDS of young people are attempting suicide while waiting for NHS treatment, a survey suggests.

One in four under 25s have tried to take their own life while waiting for mental health support.

The data – from quizzing 14,000 young people – has been shared with the Government as part of its call for evidence for a 10-year mental health plan.

The charity YoungMinds also found that more than half (58 per cent) also said their mental health got worse while they were waiting for help.

Four in 10 (44 per cent) said they had waited more than a month for mental health support after seeking it.

Nine per cent said they were turned away and 37 per cent did not feel supported by their GP.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has warned of record waiting lists for help, including for children with eating disorders, saying services are at “crisis point”.

The most recent NHS data shows almost 66,400 people aged 19 and under were referred for mental health support in April.

It’s double the figure for the same month pre-pandemic.

Almost 11,900 youngsters aged 10 to 14 took antidepressants in 2021/22, up from 11,000 the year prior, which includes the first year of the pandemic.

And NHS data shows 180,500 aged 15 to 19 took the pills, a jump from 166,900 the year before.

YoungMinds has launched an End The Wait campaign, saying the current situation “cannot continue”.

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YoungMinds, said the numbers “paint a shocking picture of the situation young people in this country face”.

“We have also seen this reflected in calls to our parents’ helpline, with an increasing number of people saying their child has attempted to take their own life and still isn’t receiving the right care,” she said. 

The charity is concerned that with uncertainty in Government, resources will be diverted away further. 

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “The next prime minister must commit to improving early intervention support as part of their 10-year plan to help stop these issues in their tracks.”

He added the figures reveal the “horrifying reality of excruciating waits” for treatment.

A Government spokesman said: “The death of every young person is a tragedy and the impact on families can be devastating, and we are taking action to give children and young people access to safe, appropriate care.

“Over 22,000 more children and young people have received access to community mental health services, thanks to our additional £79 million investment into children’s mental health services last year.

“Since 2018, we have seen an increase in NHS staff working in children and young people’s mental health and we are investing in mental health services so that nearly 350,000 more children and young people can access NHS mental health support in England by mid-2024.”

You’re Not Alone

The Sun’s You’re Not Alone campaign aims to help prevent deaths from suicide to remind those who are facing a difficult time that there is hope.

Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, with a life lost every 90 minutes in the UK.

There were 6,221 suicides reported in the UK in 2020 – the most recent data available – some of which would have occurred pre-pandemic.

Men continue to be more likely to die of suicide than women.

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