Rise in number of children with depression

The number of children suffering from depression is on the rise and more needs to be done to care for them, according to health experts.

  • NHS says children as young as five showing signs of depression
  • Called for better care for children with mental illness and quicker diagnosis
  • Experts say cyber bullying and family breakdown is to blame for rise


New NHS guidelines said that children as young as five are showing signs of depression and nearly80,000 children in the UK are living with the mental illness.

Cyber bullying, pressure from social media websites and the breakdown of the family unit are behind the thousands of young children with mental health problems, according to experts.

New guidelines set out by the public health agency National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) say children showing symptoms of depression need to be properly diagnosed and offered more support.

If a doctor suspects that a child is depressed, they must acknowledge this in the child’s records and ensure the best possible care can be given to the child.


Experts says family breakdown and cyber bullying are behind the rising numbers of children with depression


The guidelines advise state ‘age appropriate’ material and techniques should be used to help the child understand their treatment.

Figures suggest that more than 8,000 children under the age of ten suffer from depression.

Dr Gemma Trainor, a nurse consultant at Greater Manchester West Foundation Mental Health Trust said: ‘The increase in school-age children presenting with depression is a particularly worrying phenomenon’.

But consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist Ricky Emanuel said there are ‘huge variations’ in the level of care delivered to young patients with depression.

Mr Emanuel, who works at the Royal Free Hospital, London, helped develop the quality standards.

He said: ‘I hope this quality standard can be used as a template to improve the care received by children and young people with depression in England.

‘There are huge variations in the type and quality of care available, which can have long-term consequences on the child or young person and family themselves, as well as for society as a whole.

‘The new standards set out the very best care and support for children and young people with depression.’