Poverty and deprivation in Britain cause one in 10 children to suffer from mental health problems, a...
Poverty and deprivation in Britain cause one in 10 children to suffer from mental health problems, according to a recent British Medical Association (BMA) report.
The report, entitled Child and Adolescent Mental Health - A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, found that poverty and deprivation are major risk factors behind mental health disorders in children.
Vivienne Nathanson, head of BMA ethics and science, said: "Children from deprived backgrounds have a poorer start in life on many levels, but without good mental health they may not have a chance to develop emotionally and reach their full potential in life.
"Deprivation often goes hand in hand with poor diet and unhealthy living. Healthcare professionals are beginning to recognise just how important diet and physical exercise are in preventing mental health problems and it is vital that more research is carried out in this area," she added.
With an increase in children suffering from mental disorders, the BMA suggested that around 1.1 million children under the age of 18 would benefit from specialist services, stating that psychiatric disorders in childhood may persist, increasing the risk of problems in adult life. "Of those with mental health problems at the age of 26, half had met the criteria for a disorder by age 15," stated the report.
It noted that a significant barrier to young people using mental health services is that they are not tailored to meet their needs, including culturally sensitive services, the appropriate languages or even being located close enough to where children lived.
Other factors including breakdown of traditional family structures, poor diet and alcohol abuse are also high on the list of triggers for mental health conditions in children.
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