New data shows children and young people’s mental health referrals have doubled after lockdowns

Date: 30th July 2021
Category: Mental health, Health and health services

Cartoon of a teddy bear that sits on a first aid box. The teddy has a plaster on its face and is surrounded by medicine bottles.

NHS England has published new data that shows that referral cases for children and young people for mental health services have hit a record high as they doubled throughout the pandemic.

Referrals peaked in March 2021 with 65,533 children and young people waiting for mental health services. This is more than double the number waiting in March 2020 and 68% higher than in 2019. Between 2020 and 2021, the data reveals there were 527,339 referrals in total, compared with 397,822 between 2019 and 2020, which shows a 33% year-on-year increase.

Emergency referrals to crisis-care teams for under-18s were 62% higher in March 2021 than the previous year. These numbers are considered extreme and with long NHS waiting lists, experts at the Royal College of Psychiatrists are concerned that significant numbers of young people won’t receive treatment in time to prevent them growing into adults with mental health issues that could have been avoided with earlier intervention.

Further details on these young mental health referrals can be found here.

NHS data on young mental health referrals can be found here.