New figures have revealed that children as young as five are being treated for anxiety and depression in Sussex. Over a one year period, there were almost 3,000 referrals to specialist health services involving children and teenagers which has sparked concerns about the impact that modern life is having on the mental health of young people.
Nearly 500 more cases were reported up to April 2014 compared to the year before and some of the most common issues included separation anxiety, general anxiety, problems dealing with social situations, avoiding going out, depression and low mood.
It is believed that approximately 80,000 children in the UK are suffering from severe depression - 8,000 of which are below the age of 10.
Experts believe that children are starting to suffer from extreme stress more frequently and at a younger age thanks to pressures from social media, cyber-bullying and school exams from an earlier age. With a growing number of families experiencing break-ups, it’s also thought that this could be fuelling the rise in mental health problems amongst youngsters.
A spokesperson from the charity, Young Minds, commented:
“Children and young people in Britain today are growing up in a fast paced, competitive and stressful environment. Family breakdown, exam pressures, early sexualisation, bullying and issues about body image affect most children and young people.
They exist in a 24/7 online world where there is no privacy. They seek constant reassurance from each other online and they are under pressure all the time to present the ‘perfect me’. As they move into adulthood, they face huge competition to get a job, leaving home is not feasible financially and if they go to university, they are saddled with a lifelong debt.”
Experts are now emphasising that more needs to be done to help young children develop the resilience they need to deal with the world they’re growing up in. There are also calls for additional support and more accessible mental health services to be available to those who need them.
If you think that your child could be suffering with mental health issues, please feel free to visit Life Works treatment programs page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available. You can also call us today for help.