Tag Archives: Children

Yemen: more than one million children at risk of cholera – charity

More than one million malnourished children aged under five in Yemen are living in areas with high levels of cholera, the charity Save The Children warned on Wednesday as it began sending more health experts to the worst hit areas.

The scaling up in response came after latest figures show that a deadly cholera epidemic that started in April 2015 has infected more than 425,000 people and killed almost 1,900.

Save the Children said children under the age of 15 are now accounting for about 44 percent of new cases and 32 percent of fatalities in Yemen where a devastating civil war and economic collapse has left millions on the brink of starvation.

“The tragedy is both malnutrition and cholera are easily treatable if you have access to basic healthcare,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen.

“But hospitals and clinics have been destroyed, government health workers haven’t been paid for almost a year, and the delivery of vital aid is being obstructed.“

Cholera, which is spread by ingestion of food or water contaminated by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, can kill within hours if untreated.

The cholera outbreak prompted the United Nations last week to revise its humanitarian assessment and it now calculates 20.7 million Yemenis are in need of assistance, up from the previous figure of 18.8 million in a population of 28 million.

Oxfam has projected the number of people infected with cholera could rise to more than 600,000 – “the largest ever recorded in any country in a single year since records began” – exceeding Haiti in 2011.

Save the Children said it currently operates 14 cholera treatment centres and more than 90 rehydration units across Yemen but was scaling up its response and sending more health experts to the worst hit areas.

The charity said new analysis of district level data revealed more than one million malnourished children aged under five – including 200,000 with severe acute malnutrition – were living in cholera hot-spots.

Millions are malnourished in Yemen where famine looms, the United Nations says. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels and fighting limits access for aid workers. 

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Lack of mental health support leaving children stuck in hospital – thinktank

Children with serious mental health problems are becoming trapped in NHS psychiatric units, unable to leave because care is unavailable outside hospitals, a thinktank has said.

NHS figures show that between October 2015 and September 2016 children and young people in England spent almost 9,000 days in hospital after being declared fit to be discharged. Some end up stuck in units for several months.

NHS England did not tell the Education Policy Institute how many patients were involved in the 9,000 days, despite being asked this in a freedom of information request. But the thinktank said data showed the problem was growing.

The total number of what the EPI termed “wasted days” was 42% higher between December 2016 and February 2017 than in the same period in 2015-16. In January alone this year, under-18s spent 804 delayed days in mental health inpatient units, compared to 553 the previous January.

Delayed discharges of such patients can occur because their home area cannot provide the specialist support they need to ensure they remain safe.

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Far too many young people are being left in limbo in mental health hospitals because the right support isn’t available in their community. In some cases they may have to wait weeks or even months before they are discharged.”

Javed Khan, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Intensive community mental health support should be available for every child regardless of where they live, to prevent their issues escalating and avoid them being admitted to hospital.”

Emily Frith, the author an EPI report on children’s mental health, urged NHS England to ensure there were enough teams of specialist staff in the community to help discharged patients. Government policy is to increase the number of intensive outreach teams offering under-18s help with mental health conditions, but in 2014 just 64% of providers of inpatient care said they had one.

“Being in hospital for a mental health condition can be a disturbing experience for a young person. For example, there is the risk that they will witness frightening incidents such as another patient’s self-harm or that their condition gets worse due to being separated from their friends and family,” said Frith.

“Being in hospital also disrupts their education. Young people should therefore remain in hospital for no longer than is necessary.”

EPI research also found that, despite pledges to ban the practice, children and young people are still being treated in adult psychiatric units because of a shortage of beds.

Eighty-three under-18s were treated on adult wards for a total of 2,700 days in the last three months of 2016 – an average of 33 days each.

The number of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) beds available for inpatients has risen by 71% since 1999 to around 1,440, although almost half of these are provided by the private sector, not NHS trusts.

Despite the increase, the NHS South region ran out of CAMHS beds on two occasions during 2016-17, and the London region did so once.

CAMHS units are have been affected by serious staff shortages. One in nine units is failing to provide staff-to-patient ratios regarded as the minimum acceptable, 24% are struggling to employ enough staff and 19% of the outlay on CAMHS pay goes to temporary bank and agency staff.

Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The youngest and most vulnerable are being let down by a lack of beds and nursing staff in all parts of the country. Mental health and community care are two of the areas hardest hit by the severe shortage of nurses.”

NHS England said the EPI report “recycles old data [and] ignores the fact that children and young people’s mental health services are now expanding at their fastest rate in over a decade, including new eating disorders clinics, shorter waits for specialist care, and a major increase in specialist inpatient facilities for underserved parts of the country. Rear view mirror commentaries are all very well, but services are now changing fast – for the better.”

It highlighted an article in Tuesday’s New York Times which described the NHS’s efforts to improve mental health care as “the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses”.

Rise in children seeking mental health support after terror attacks

The number of children and young people seeking help from mental health services has spiked in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in England, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP).

Hospitals across the Manchester region have seen an estimated 10% increase in children seeking help since a bomb ripped through the Manchester Arena on 22 May, killing 22 people, according to the RCP. Mental health experts in Greater Manchester hospitals received hundreds more patients from June to July compared with previous months.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Royal Manchester children’s hospital and a member of the RCP, described the increase as significant and said the terror attack had a “profound impact on the way the children view their city”.

Just a small fraction of those treated had been at the concert; the majority of patients had felt increased anxiety after watching the events on the news. Anxiety and insomnia were the most common complaints, with children worrying about going out or being on public transport after the attacks.

Theodosiou warned the number affected could be significantly greater, with people also seeking support through school or voluntary services and many others yet to come forward for help.

A similar trend has been noticed in London. Dr Jon Goldin, the vice-chair of the child and adolescent psychiatry faculty at RCP, said there had also been anecdotal evidence of “a rise in children seeking mental health services after recent terror attacks”.

“Maybe the rise hasn’t been as much as Manchester [...] but some of those with a predisposition to anxiety have had it heightened by these recent events,” he said.

The increase could be linked to young people’s consumption of media, with children able to access disturbing footage on their smartphones, according to experts. It could also be a positive sign that efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health were having an impact.

Dr Rachel Langley, a clinical psychologist from Southampton children’s hospital’s sleepdisorder service, said: “Technology has a huge amount to answer for in fuelling a rise in children’s sleep problems. It gives young people access to what is going on in the world and also … the blue light of the screens affects melatonin release.”

She added: “There was a 10-year-old boy I saw recently who has anxiety-related insomnia and he has a specific concern about his dad, who works in London, getting caught up in a terror attack.”

In Manchester more young people are expected to seek help in the coming months and years. Theodosiou said: “It has unmasked vulnerabilities that were not there before. It’s fair to say that of the hundreds of children affected only a small fraction would have witnessed the events.”

She added: “If you think of the bomb as being like an influenza epidemic, those most affected by that will be ones with underlying respiratory problems [...] and in the same way the group most affected by the terror attack in the city have been those who are vulnerable to mental health at the beginning.”

Peter Sweeney, another psychiatrist from Royal Manchester children’s hospital, said services needed to plan ahead to manage post-traumatic stress disorder that could hit families and young people.

“We needed to do lots of work for the survivors initially … they got a high level of support at the start. Our concern now is more about young people who may be experiencing anxiety but are not presenting to us, so those who were at the concert but not seriously injured or those who were not at the concert but affected,” he said.

The message to children should be that these attacks should not alter behaviour and that people should get on with their normal lives, said Goldin. “Children should get that message as well as adults. If you have anxious parents saying ‘don’t go to London etc’ then that doesn’t give the most helpful message.

“One message to get across is that it’s important not to feel that, when a child is anxious about a terror attack, they should be taken straight to children’s mental health services. Usually family and a normal support network can really help them. When things are more enduring, for example several weeks after a traumatic experience a child is still struggling with sleep or their mood etc, then you would want CAMHS [child and adolescent mental health services] to get involved.”

  • In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, and Childline on 0800 1111. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.

Rise in children seeking mental health support after terror attacks

The number of children and young people seeking help from mental health services has spiked in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in England, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP).

Hospitals across the Manchester region have seen an estimated 10% increase in children seeking help since a bomb ripped through the Manchester Arena on 22 May, killing 22 people, according to the RCP. Mental health experts in Greater Manchester hospitals received hundreds more patients from June to July compared with previous months.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Royal Manchester children’s hospital and a member of the RCP, described the increase as significant and said the terror attack had a “profound impact on the way the children view their city”.

Just a small fraction of those treated had been at the concert; the majority of patients had felt increased anxiety after watching the events on the news. Anxiety and insomnia were the most common complaints, with children worrying about going out or being on public transport after the attacks.

Theodosiou warned the number affected could be significantly greater, with people also seeking support through school or voluntary services and many others yet to come forward for help.

A similar trend has been noticed in London. Dr Jon Goldin, the vice-chair of the child and adolescent psychiatry faculty at RCP, said there had also been anecdotal evidence of “a rise in children seeking mental health services after recent terror attacks”.

“Maybe the rise hasn’t been as much as Manchester [...] but some of those with a predisposition to anxiety have had it heightened by these recent events,” he said.

The increase could be linked to young people’s consumption of media, with children able to access disturbing footage on their smartphones, according to experts. It could also be a positive sign that efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health were having an impact.

Dr Rachel Langley, a clinical psychologist from Southampton children’s hospital’s sleepdisorder service, said: “Technology has a huge amount to answer for in fuelling a rise in children’s sleep problems. It gives young people access to what is going on in the world and also … the blue light of the screens affects melatonin release.”

She added: “There was a 10-year-old boy I saw recently who has anxiety-related insomnia and he has a specific concern about his dad, who works in London, getting caught up in a terror attack.”

In Manchester more young people are expected to seek help in the coming months and years. Theodosiou said: “It has unmasked vulnerabilities that were not there before. It’s fair to say that of the hundreds of children affected only a small fraction would have witnessed the events.”

She added: “If you think of the bomb as being like an influenza epidemic, those most affected by that will be ones with underlying respiratory problems [...] and in the same way the group most affected by the terror attack in the city have been those who are vulnerable to mental health at the beginning.”

Peter Sweeney, another psychiatrist from Royal Manchester children’s hospital, said services needed to plan ahead to manage post-traumatic stress disorder that could hit families and young people.

“We needed to do lots of work for the survivors initially … they got a high level of support at the start. Our concern now is more about young people who may be experiencing anxiety but are not presenting to us, so those who were at the concert but not seriously injured or those who were not at the concert but affected,” he said.

The message to children should be that these attacks should not alter behaviour and that people should get on with their normal lives, said Goldin. “Children should get that message as well as adults. If you have anxious parents saying ‘don’t go to London etc’ then that doesn’t give the most helpful message.

“One message to get across is that it’s important not to feel that, when a child is anxious about a terror attack, they should be taken straight to children’s mental health services. Usually family and a normal support network can really help them. When things are more enduring, for example several weeks after a traumatic experience a child is still struggling with sleep or their mood etc, then you would want CAMHS [child and adolescent mental health services] to get involved.”

  • In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, and Childline on 0800 1111. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.