A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode

Disturbing survey results concerning trends GPs have witnessed in the rise of mental health issues in young patients has been released by stem 4, a charity that works to prevent mental health illness in young people, in a new report titled ‘A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode’

302 GPs were surveyed and shockingly 78% stated that they are seeing more young patients presenting with mental health problems than they did five years ago. Additionally, to make matters worse, 50% of the GPs surveyed have said they had received no specialist training on self-harm and over a third (36%) said they had received training but it was not adequate for them to feel confident supporting young patients. Yet, while many GPs felt unable to handle mental health issues amongst young patients, many (85%) also felt that health and social care services for children are inadequate. This lack of access to underfunded and overstretched services such as CAMHS means that tougher eligibility criteria’s must be implemented for referrals to deal with the strain, so GPs are deterred from making referrals. Therefore, 76% want to see increased funding for mental health, and over half (54%) want more specialist training for GPs on young people’s mental health problems.

In a press release sent to the ACP, Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Founder of stem 4, said, “Young people’s mental health services are at crisis point.  GPs are having to cope with the consequences of our failure to focus on prevention, and a lack of access to specialist services.  We may not be able to change the world we have created for our young people, but we need to take action to ensure that help is available when they need it.  GPs are at the forefront of addressing this crisis and they need far more support. The increase in mental ill health among our young people is exacerbated by our trophy culture. They are under enormous pressure to succeed in every way, not only at school where they are constantly tested and graded, but also by endeavoring to gain social cachet by competing to be ‘followed’ and ‘liked’ on social media.”

For the full report, read here