In response to today’s research revealing almost half of children aged 12 – 16 feel sad or anxious at least once a week, Dr Sarah Lotzof of Chase Lodge Hospital comments that clinical depression and other serious mental illness are not being identified early enough in young people. She says:

“It’s devastating to hear that by age 16, seven in ten students feel anxious at least once a week with many also feeling negative. The problem doesn’t stop here. Sadly, many young people are not being correctly diagnosed, which is often due to a shortage of resources.

“Worryingly, the most recent research on this found that 10 per cent of children and young people aged five to 16 have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70 per cent of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at an early age.

“It’s not surprising that NAHT, the headteachers’ union, have reported more than half of teachers who tried to get help for students found it difficult and more than one in five failed.

“We need to be doing more to help people likely to struggle with mental illness as half of all cases of adult mental illness start by the age of 14, and it is important they are diagnosed and treated early. At Chase Lodge Hospital we use genetic testing to determine the most appropriate treatment method. This prevents patients from suffering the guess-and-check approach to medicine, as over 4 in 5 patients with depression don’t actually benefit from the first antidepressant they try.”