A NORTH-EAST MP has revealed figures on the levels of mental illness among schoolchildren.

Ashok Kumar, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, learned that ten per cent of school-age children suffer from some form of mental illness. He said this was "deeply disturbing".

"Such figures have grave implications for both health and education departments," said Dr Kumar, "and I think there is a very strong case for some form of inter-departmental task force which can intervene to look at NHS care and treatment regimes.

"It could also look at the impact this problem has in terms of coping with behavioural issues in the classroom and in terms of the implementation of effective strategies for combating school exclusions."

He is writing to Education Secretary Estelle Morris and Health Secretary Alan Milburn asking for these issues to be considered urgently.