Children’s Mental Health Hospital Admissions Double in NW London

80 children were admitted to hospital for inpatient mental health support in 2019 in north-west London, up from 38 in 2018.

By Anon, Harrow · May 14, 2020

Pic: Shutterstock

The number of children in north-west London being admitted to a hospital for mental health issues more than doubled since 2018.

38 young people admitted in 2018, but 80 were admitted in 2019. 33 were admitted in 2015, followed by 38 and 31 in 2016 and 2017 respectively. 

Data from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust revealed that a total of 1,540 children and teens under 18 were referred by their GP for specialist CAMHS support in Brent over the last five years.

For anxiety, 20 five-year-olds, 19 six-year-olds, 19 seven-year-olds and 15 eight-years olds and 30 nine-years-olds were referred. One one-year-old, one two-year-old, five three-year-olds and six four-year-olds also needed support for the condition. 

A child as young as five was seen for depression, along with a further six children aged between six and nine years old. 

There were multiple referrals for young children with suspected Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suspected Autism spectrum disorders (ASM). 13 and 16 4-year-olds were referred for each disorder respectively, along with 39 and 35 5-year-olds.

Mike Waddington, Communications Director at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The figures are actually good news for those people experiencing mental distress.”

He said that they come as a result of “more investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health services. For instance, we opened the first ever NHS adolescent Unit in North West London and the first specialist unit for young people with autism and learning disabilities, also expanded services around A&E Depts too.”

“A little while before this we created community eating disorders services for young people. We have started piloting teams to work with schools since last September. It’s all part of a national commitment to expand these services; though of course there is still much more to do.

“The cause of such an increase in demand is not wholly known. Some was always there, but some is related to aspects of social media. Not the medium itself which can be very positive but the material that travels downs its tracks (for example, the increase in self harm). There is more research going on nationally around this topic.”

Speaking on the topic of staff, Mr Waddington concluded: “We have expanded the workforce and they do work hard; anyone who does run into work problems (more than possibly now with the Covid-19 pandemic emergency response), we have specialist and independent support services they can use; sometimes people just need a rest which is why we insist on staff taking leave.”

Why did students choose this topic?

Students said: “We wrote about this serious topic to raise awareness that children have been experiencing mental health issues in north-west London. We want to give voices to the voiceless. We have experienced mental health issues before and we know the struggle and the difficulties that come with it. We believe that every single child going through mental health issues has the right to receive treatment.

“Many children suffer from mental health and not enough attention is being brought to it. One of my friends has a mental health issue, and it affects him in school and his social life so this issue is personal.”

How did the answers make our journalists feel?

“The answers we got back from the NHS made us feel quite upset, as we learnt that many children in north-west London suffer from mental health issues. The fact that the government isn’t doing enough to reduce these numbers makes it even more gloomy.

“We weren’t surprised by the data.”