New analysis reveals trends in children and young people’s mental health care in Wales

The Health Foundation’s Networked Data Lab (NDL) has analysed data across England, Scotland and Wales to reveal new insights about children and young people receiving mental health support. Analysis by local teams including in Wales, flags three areas for further investigation, nationally and locally 1

  1. The use of GPs and medication for mental health problems is growing in the areas analysed by NDL teams
  2. A higher proportion of adolescent girls and young women are receiving antidepressants, are in contact with support services and most frequently experiencing mental health crises
  3. The data shows a stark contrast in socioeconomic deprivation, with more prescriptions and mental health crises in the most deprived areas

The data for Wales showed that 2:

  • Adolescent girls aged 15–17 were the group who most frequently presented with mental health crises to acute services.
  • In 2019, girls (11–15 years) and young women (16–19 years) were twice as likely to present with crises than boys and young men of the same age.
  • Crisis event rates were also strongly patterned by socioeconomic deprivation, with children and young people living in the 20% most deprived areas in Wales having almost double the rate of crisis events compared with those living in the 20% least deprived areas.

The analysis reveals that across the UK, the number of children and young people experiencing mental health problems is growing. Mental health services are expanding, but not fast enough to meet rising needs, leaving many children and young people with limited or no support. It also shows that too little is known about who receives care and crucially, who doesn’t.

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