Shock over youngsters' mental health

SHOCKING statistics today reveal that one in ten children in Suffolk suffers from mental health problems.Other figures from the NHS Suffolk's Annual Public Health report show that children in Ipswich are more likely to have mental health issues due to the levels of poverty in the town.

SHOCKING statistics today reveal that one in ten children in Suffolk suffers from mental health problems.

Other figures from the NHS Suffolk's Annual Public Health report show that children in Ipswich are more likely to have mental health issues due to the levels of poverty in the town.

The report claims that many of the children and young people with an established disorder will continue to have difficulties in their adult life, which will have an impact on their health and social outcome.

Among the more common issues they face are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and emotional issues, Autism and eating disorders.

The report says: “In Ipswich and Waveney, it is expected that there will be higher rates of prevalence of mental health problems among children and adolescents.

“This is because these two areas have above East of England average rates of income deprivation, unemployment, adults with no qualifications, children living in poverty and drug and alcohol misuse.”

Most Read

Latest statistics show that at any one time between 11,500 and 12,000 children up to the age of 17 in Suffolk have mental health disorders.

Health bosses claim that help is available through child and adolescent mental health services, including intensive outreach teams and psychiatric clinics.

Although waiting times for treatment was up to a year a few years ago, Dr Peter Bradley, director of public health with the NHS Suffolk and Suffolk County Council, said the situation is improving.

He said: “When you have many children with a problem we have to make sure we are dealing with it in a good and efficient way. It is also about working with teachers and social workers, and all these people who play an incredibly important role.

“The waiting times issue is an improving and moving story.”

The report also revealed that mental ill health costs Suffolk's economy an estimated �898 million every year, much of which is through lost work days as there are about 97,500 people in the county suffer with these issues.

Dr Bradley added that this figure is likely to rise when the effects of the recession become transparent, with more people suffering from depression and anxiety.

He said: “Mental health problems can affect any of us at any point in our lives. There is still a stigma attached to this - which is one of the key things we want to change.”

Does your child suffer from a mental health issue and do you want to comment about the services available? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.