The chairman of Action for Sick Children said the poll, carried out on behalf of MindEd, a consortium of doctors and charities, had indicated a ‘worrying’
The investigation found 38 per cent of those polled were unsure of the signs of mental illness while 51 per cent said if they did suspect a problem they would worry about raising the issue with the child’s parents. Most people – 87 per cent – said they would turn to their GP for help.
Now MindEd has launched an e-portal, funded by the Department of Health, which aims to demystify and de-stigmatise mental health problems among all those who work with children.
MindEd clinical lead Dr Raphael Kelvin, a child psychiatrist, said: “Half of all diagnosable mental health conditions start before the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 21, so identifying children at the earliest opportunity is crucial in setting them on the best path in life.
“Investing in early intervention is crucial – not doing so comes at a high price for those battling a mental health condition, and also costs the economy vast sums of money in lost education, training, jobs, and often, through crime.
“It’s clear from these results that there’s still stigma attached to mental health with 51% of adults admitting fear of approaching the issue. It’s also clear that many adults are not confident in being able to spot the signs of ill mental health in children and many are turning to other adults – family, friends and teachers – for help and advice.”
Mrs Barnes, speaking from her Cheshire office said: “The creation of Mind-Ed’s new e-portal is a step in the right direction and we at Action for Sick Children welcome its launch. We also look forward to new initiatives which will help ensure that children with mental health problems are not allowed to slip through the net.”
For further information click onto: www.actionforsickchildren.org.uk