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Depression (Schoolchildren)

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action his Department will take in relation to depression in adolescent girls. [114533]

According to a survey of the mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain, carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 1999, 1.9 per cent. of 11–15 year old girls suffered from a depressive episode. All child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are able to respond to referrals to assess and treat depression, including depressive illness in adolescent girls. Since 1999, the Department's CAMHS development strategy has helped to improve significantly the range, quality and accessibility of local services. Over the next three years we will be investing a further £250 million across the national health service and local authorities with the aim of securing comprehensive services, including mental health promotion and early intervention, in all areas by 2006. We recently published for consultation the emerging findings from the children's national service framework, which had a chapter on the mental health of children and adolescents and the outline of what a comprehensive local service should comprise.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken to deal with problems of depression amongst pupils. [114787]

A survey of the mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain, carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 1999, found that 1.8 per cent. of 11–15 year olds had suffered from a depressive episode. All child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are able to respond to referrals to assess and treat depression, including depressive illness. Over the next three years we will be investing an additional £250 million across the national health service and local authorities with the aim of securing comprehensive services, including mental health promotion and early intervention, in all areas by 2006.The Department for Education and Skills has issued guidance, to which this Department contributed, that addresses mental health promotion in schools. The guidance is designed to increase awareness about children's mental health among teachers and to provide examples of good practice. We have also recently published for consultation the emerging findings from the children's national service framework, which has a chapter on the mental health of children and adolescents and the outline of what a comprehensive local service should comprise.