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Mental Illness: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL13005, tabled on 4 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there has been an increase in the number of children arriving in accident and emergency departments with mental health issues since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in England; what evidence they have collected that severe mental health conditions, including self-harm, eating disorders and overdoses, are now affecting children more severely and at younger ages; and what will be the priorities for Dr Alex George, the Youth Mental Health Ambassador, appointed by the Prime Minister on 3 February.

Answered on

19 February 2021

Provisional data for 2020/21 show that the number of children and young people attending accident and emergency departments in England with a diagnosis category of ‘psychiatric conditions’ fell substantially from 2,094 in March 2020 to 930 in April 2020. The latest information shows that they have since risen to 2,899 in November 2020 and that the levels of attendances between June and November 2020 remain broadly equivalent to the same period in the year before.

We continue to work closely with the Department for Education, the National Health Service, Public Health England and a wide range of stakeholders to monitor the situation and support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Dr Alex George will be joining the Department for Education’s mental health action group, which will look specifically at how young people’s mental health and wellbeing can be supported as they return to schools, colleges and universities.