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Mentally Ill: Young People

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies he has (a) reviewed and (b) commissioned on levels of mental illness in young people, with particular reference to levels of clinical depression; what assessment he has made of those studies; and what steps his Department is taking to combat depression in young people. (146796)

[holding answer 3 July 2007]: The Office for National Statistics 2004 survey “Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain” looked at the prevalence of mental health disorders. It found that 10 per cent. of young people aged 5-16 years had a clinically diagnosed mental disorder. This includes four per cent. with an emotional disorder (1 per cent. depression and 3 per cent. anxiety disorders).

In September 2005, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published a guideline on the treatment of depression in children and young people which also included advice on the detection and recognition of depression. It outlined the treatment options available—psychological therapies or medication. It recommended that medication should only be used rarely in the under 11 age group and should only be offered to the 12-18 group in more severe cases in addition to psychological therapy.

“The National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services” (published in 2004), sets the framework for child and adolescent mental services (CAMHS) for the next ten years. It sets the standard that all children and young people, from birth to their eighteenth birthday, who have mental health problems and disorders, will have access to timely, integrated, high quality multidisciplinary mental health services to ensure effective assessment, treatment and support, for them, their parents or carers, and other family members.

In the four years 2004-05 to 2007-08, we have invested over £400 million in additional funding for the development of CAMHS by the national health service and local authorities. It has assisted them in the achievement of the Department’s public service agreement standard of a comprehensive CAMHS in every area.