Mental health charity YoungMinds estimate that 96,000 five to ten-year olds suffer from an anxiety disorder, while 8,000 are seriously depressed. Despite this, two-thirds of local authorities have had their budgets for early intervention schemes cut in recent years. YoungMinds campaigns chief Lucie Russell said: ‘An increase in under-11s needing mental health services is a very sad and worrying indictment of the society we live in and the pressures children face. Every day we hear about…bullying, sexualisation, consumerism and pressure to have the perfect body at a young age. This leads to thousands of children suffering a range of mental health problems. The World Health Organisation estimate that by 2030 depression is going to be the biggest health problem in the Western world and so we are sitting on a ticking time bomb. That’s why it is vital we take responsibility for the stress we are loading onto children and act now to provide support for them when they need it. This means stopping yet more cuts to early intervention support services, ensuring there is more support for young people who are struggling, making resilience-building a key part of the curriculum [in schools] and increasing the budget for children and young people’s mental health services, which is currently only a measly 0.7 per cent of the overall NHS budget.’

Selfharm.co.uk’s Rachel Welch told Premier Christian Radio: ‘We need development of child and adolescent mental health services. We know these services are currently over-stretched and this sends out the message that you’re only going to get seen if you’re ill enough to be seen. As well as dealing with young people and children in crisis, we need to be dealing with those who are at the beginning of their journey of struggling with mental health issues and catch them before the point where they are in crisis.’