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Five-year-olds with depression

30th May 2012

Data viewed by the BBC has shown mental health workers in Sussex are treating over 1,000 under-18-year-olds for mental health issues.

Lonely Boy

Five-year-old children were also being treated for conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The NHS Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Sussex said in February it believed it was treating 330 under 11-year-olds and around 830 12 to 18-year-olds for anxiety and depression.

In Dorset 118 young people were aged under 16 at the date they were referred because of a mental health issue.

The number of prescriptions for the anti-depressant Prozac (Fluoxetine) from April-September 2011 increased by 26% in Oxfordshire and 13% in Berkshire.

Mental health professionals said children were more stressed because of their parents' unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse and financial problems.

Barbara Inkson, child clinical psychology at Solent NHS Trust, said the trust had seen a yearly increase of around 10% in child mental health referrals.

She added: "What is clear is that levels of emotional disorders, including depression as well as anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders, are rising in line with other referrals to CAMHS here in the city." 

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of Young Minds, said: "Intervening early when a child or young person starts struggling to cope is proven to reduce the likelihood of that young person developing much more severe and entrenched mental health problems. 

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