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The Mental Health Epidemic in the UK

An article published by The Guardian in January 2023 discusses the increase in child referrals for mental health services. In England, the number of children needing serious mental health treatment rose by 39% from 2022 to 2023. As of January 2023, there were more than a million (1,169,515) children being referred for mental health treatment under the National Health Service (NHS).

According to experts, this increase is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, online harm (through social media and potential cyber-attacks or bullying), and social inequality.


Additionally, mental health treatment in the NHS for those aged 18 and below is becoming increasingly alarming, increasing by more than 1.1 million between 2021-2022. These figures include a large array of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and those who are suicidal or engaging in self-harm.

Furthermore, NHS data shows rising hospital emissions for children with eating disorders. Within the under-18 age range, there has been an 82% rise in emissions between 2019 and 2020.

In 2022, a survey conducted by NHS England revealed that one-sixth of children aged between 7-16 years old had a “probable” mental health condition. This statistic rises to one in four people between the ages of 17-19. Similarly, between 2019 and 2020, the number of UK adults showing symptoms of depression almost doubled (from 10% to 19%), according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


The Department for Health and Social Care revealed that mental health services will be boosted by additional government funding. In 2023, it was pledged that there would be a £150 million investment in the NHS’s mental health services up to April 2025. This £150 million investment is reportedly being used to build 150 new facilities to support emergency care services.

This funding will also contribute towards 100 new mental health ambulances and will include new, specialist staff. Moreover, this large investment is funding 150 new projects that focus on mental health crisis response and urgent mental health care. Out of these 150 new projects, 30 will focus on crises, and a minimum of 20 will be designated for health-based places of safety. Supposedly, this funding will also improve the 111 helplines for the NHS and create new crisis phone lines for the UK.

Moreover, this Mental Health Initiative is planning to contribute towards new ambulances designated for mental health services. It is predicted that £7 million will go towards these particular ambulances that can offer specialised care for patients and hopefully relieve pressure from A&E’s under NHS services.


According to government plans, Sunak’s government will invest a minimum of £2.3 billion (yearly) in auxiliary funding by April 2024. The government’s commitment to increasing mental health funding is significant, as this increased support will account for 8.9% of all NHS funding. The aim of this investment is to enhance, expand, and transform mental health services in England. According to the government’s plans, this should allow 2 million more people to seek necessary mental health support.

NHS helplines are taking an average of 200,000 calls per month, although only 1-2% of these are being reported directly to 999 or A&E. The number of people using NHS helplines presents an alarming statistic, and the government is attempting to minimise the number of monthly callers by focusing on preventative measures. These preventative measures under Sunak’s government encourage early mental health support for those aged below 18 and are planned to reach 35% of students by the end of 2023 (GOV).

According to Claire Murdoch, the NHS mental health director, this £2.3 billion per year investment can permit 4.5 million adults and a minimum of 700,000 young people to access mental health services in the UK.

This news of an increased focus on mental health support services will hopefully be very beneficial for the population of the UK. The country is going through a mental health epidemic, where these services are required more than ever and are becoming increasingly inundated. Within this crisis, the population of the UK is reliant on Sunak’s new mental health plans to receive support that is imperative to one’s livelihood.



I want to thank my editor for all his counsel and assistance with my writing and editing. I am very appreciative of all the help that he has provided, which has allowed my articles to come to life. His account on ‘The Social Talks’ is linked below:

Adedamola Aregbesola

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Tags: #politics #news #UK #mentalhealth #policy #sustainability #healthcare #doctor #conservatives #nhs #strikes


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