Sharp rise in children treated for anxiety

Family|January 24th 2017

The number of children treated for anxiety by a hospital has risen by 42 per cent, according to official figures.

In 2015/16, more than 10,000 people under the age of 18 sought help for the condition. Girls made up at least 7,300 of those cases while boys accounted for just above 3,100 cases in the space of a year.

As many as 2,500 of these youngsters were under 13 years old, while more than 200 were as young as four or five. There were even 92 children diagnosed with anxiety aged three or under.

Speaking to The Sun, Dr Marc Bush from the children’s charity YoungMinds said that young people had to deal with “a huge range of pressures, including stress at school, body image issues, bullying on and offline, around-the-clock social media and uncertain job prospects”. He called the significant increase in anxiety diagnoses “deeply alarming”.

Meanwhile, the NSPCC claims their Childline service has experienced a 35 per cent increase in calls from children who display signs of anxiety. John Cameron is the charity’s Head of Helplines. He suggested that the nature of the media may have something to do with the surge:

“The 24/7 nature of technology means young people can never escape the pressures [they face].”

Last year the Association of Teachers and Lecturers claimed there was an “epidemic” of anxiety among schoolchildren following their survey of 1,250 school staff. Almost half of those polled believed pressure to succeed in school caused some children to self-harm and 12 per cent even reported suicide attempts by their students.

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