The proportion of children with mental health problems is 50 percent higher than before the pandemic, an NHS study found yesterday.
It found that one in six teenagers suffered from an illness such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness.
Experts said the numbers were "deeply worrying", blaming school closings and concerns over Covid-19.
Young women are hardest hit, with a quarter of 17 to 22 year olds having a "likely mental disorder".
The proportion of children with mental health problems is 50 percent higher than before the pandemic, an NHS study found yesterday. It found that one in six teenagers suffered from an illness such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness
An NHS study found that one in six teenagers suffers from an illness such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness (picture in stock).
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey in England, published by NHS Digital, was conducted in July. It is based on interviews with 3,570 children and their parents.
The report showed a sharp increase in mental health problems compared to 2017, the last time the survey was conducted.
Three years ago, every ninth child was classified as likely mentally ill. But that number is now one in six.
Lead author Tamsin Ford, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cambridge, said the "significant deterioration in children's mental health" was likely related to a lockdown.
She added, “We know that loneliness is very toxic and social isolation is very toxic to mental health.
The dead student was stressed out about Covid
Finn Kitson, 19, was found dead in the University of Manchester dormitories
The son of a Cambridge graduate died in his dormitory after suffering "severe anxiety" during lockdown.
19-year-old Finn Kitson was found dead on Manchester University's Fallowfield campus after students in the city saw a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Officials said the October 8 tragedy had nothing to do with viruses, but his father, Michael Kitson, said this was not true.
The Cambridge economist added, "If you imprison young people with little support, expect them to suffer from severe anxiety."
Mr Kitson also expressed concern "for all young people currently suffering from so much stress".
Finn's mother Jane Denney said, “Our beautiful, brilliant, and lovable son Finn has passed away. We are incredibly devastated. & # 39;
“The magnitude of the changes that children and parents reported in the survey, and our own experience with the pandemic, strongly suggest that changes must relate to it.
“If you think of a teacher with 30 children in your class, you went from having three children in your class with difficulty to five children in your class.
“The majority of the children have told us that they feel that the lockdown has made their lives worse. This apparently coincided with the time schools were closed. & # 39;
Four in ten children said the lockdown made their lives worse. Around 15 percent said it was “much worse”.
Another 37 percent of children ages five to 16 were concerned about friends and family catching Covid-19, while nearly a third had trouble sleeping.
Dr. Bernadka Dubicka, Chair of the Faculty of Children and Adolescents at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It is deeply troubling to see that the number of young people with mental illness is increasing so rapidly, as lockdown and poverty make many of their lives significantly worse .
& # 39; Services were struggling to meet demand even before Covid-19, but access has been even worse since the lockdown began.
"We're now seeing more patients in need of emergency or urgent care because they got so sick waiting to be seen."
Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS England's Assistant Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, said many teens experienced fear, sadness and loneliness due to the pandemic.
She added, “Simple steps like getting enough sleep, talking to friends or family, and making sure your child has a simple routine can make a huge positive difference.
& # 39; And the NHS, childcare, schools, colleges and the volunteer sector work together to provide a range of support services, including 24/7 crisis lines, face-to-face, phone or digital appointments, and support in schools to identify issues can and help offered earlier. & # 39;
Anne Longfield, England's child commissioner, said the numbers were alarming.
"It should shock the government to take immediate action to combat a growing epidemic," she said. “While there have been some welcome improvements in child mental health services in recent years, the scale of the problem is clearly worsening and what has been promised is simply not enough.
& # 39; The NHS needs to radically improve its child mental health plans to meet its existing commitments.
"Every school needs at least one NHS-funded counselor, and we need a child mental health service that is properly funded and doesn't have a zip code lottery."
Richard Crellin of the Children's Society said, "This needs to be a wake up call to the government about the gravity of the situation and the need for more urgent action to support children."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Coronavirus (t) Depression (t) NHS