CCG reports 'huge spike' in eating disorders and self-harm among Hampshire children

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MEDICAL experts have warned that the mental health of young people across Hampshire is spiralling.

A report from the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG suggests that 34,120 children in the south east have a probable mental health disorder - accounting for roughly 17.4 per cent of all youngsters in the region.

In 2020, one in six (16.0 per cent) children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine (10.8 per cent) in 2017.

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The amount of self-harming is also on the rise, and the CCG has noted a sharp rise in the number of children with eating disorders.

Increasing numbers of young are struggling with their mental health. Picture: PixabayIncreasing numbers of young are struggling with their mental health. Picture: Pixabay
Increasing numbers of young are struggling with their mental health. Picture: Pixabay
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Speaking to Hampshire County Council's health and wellbeing board yesterday, Ciara Rogers, senior operational lead at Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG, warned that the situation could get even worse.

She said: 'Child mental health needs have certainly increased - nationally it's about one in six children. We are yet to see the impact of Covid-19, but do expect the demand to increase even further.

'For us it's the eating disorder pathway that has seen a huge spike in cases.

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'We've doubled the size of the eating disorder team to try and keep up with the demand, and are still recruiting more specialist therapists.'

Between 2019/20 and 2020/21, the number of eating disorder cases in children rose by 52 per cent.

In terms of self-harm, it's estimated that 10 per cent of 15-16 year olds self-harm, with rates higher for girls than boys, and even higher still for transgender and non-binary young people.

The CCG has published an action plan to boost services and clear the thousands of young people still sat on a waiting list.

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Included on that action plan was the launch of, a digital counselling service for children and young people.

The service has already supported more than 2,000 young people, with many children preferring it to face-to-face appointments.

Ms Rogers said: 'We have increased the number of appointments by 2,500 to try and clear the waiting list by February.

'Overall waiting lists have come down by 30-40 per cent, despite increased referrals. The waiting list for treatment has also been reduced by 13 per cent.

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'Our focus on early intervention and prevention is really important.

'We've agreed a programme across child social care and public health to ensure we have the most impact possible.'

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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