In excess of 200,000 children are in treatment or awaiting treatment for mental health problems, with thousands of them potentially suffering from psychosis.

Figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that, as of 31 January, there were 208,602 “open referrals” for under-18s within the National Health Service.

The precise scale of young people deemed to require specialist help has been collected as part of a range of statistics as part of efforts to monitor mental health treatment waiting times being introduced by the government. These statistics show that of the 208,602 open referrals for under-18s, 114,109 of them are males, 92,063 are females, and in 2,430 cases the gender is unknown.

A total of 7,863 open referrals for under-18s are listed as potentially relating to a first episode of psychosis – a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

Of these most serious cases – for which the government has introduced a pledge of treatment being provided within two weeks of referral – 4,249 are male and 3,614 are female.

The statistics show that across all ages, there was a total of 80 referrals who entered treatment during January 2016. Of these, 74 (92.5%) entered treatment within two weeks of referral and six (7.5%) waited more than two weeks to enter treatment. A breakdown for treatment times for under-18s was not provided.

The government has set aside £1.25bn to improve mental health services for children and young people by 2020.

As part of this, £1bn will go towards treating 110,000 more children during the five-year term of the next parliament – the equivalent of 22,000 additional children each year at an annual cost of £200m.

A further £118m will be spent by 2018/19 to complete the roll-out of the Children and Young People's Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, with the aim of ensuring that talking therapy is available in every part of the country as it has recently been reported that increasing numbers of children are being forced out of their home area to receive treatment for mental health problems.

source cypnow 10.05.16