Thousands of Wigan youngsters battle mental illnesses

Thousands of young people are struggling with mental health problems in Wigan, worrying new data shows.

Mental health charities have warned about an under-reported “national crisis” among children, and say short-staffed public services cannot tackle the problem unless funding is increased.

New NHS figures show that no fewer than 2,210 people aged under 18 were seen at least twice by mental health services in Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2018-2019.

That’s a ratio of 33 per every 1,000 children in the area, compared to 32 on average in England.

But the rate is below high occurrence areas such as County Durham, where more than 60 in every 1,000 children required mental health assistance.

A recent report by the Association of Child Psychotherapists said child and adolescent mental health services are facing a “serious and worsening crisis” due to underfunding.

Dr Nick Waggett, chief executive of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, said: “These new figures confirm national prevalence data showing that mental illness amongst children and young people is increasing.

“It is important that the needs of the most unwell and vulnerable children are recognised and that investment is put into their care.