THE latest research shows that the crisis in children’s mental health is even worse than anyone realised.

Adolescence is notorious for its moments of misery that at least for the fortunate are unequalled in later life. Almost every adult looks back on the eruption of spots and the inexplicable weight gain, the exam pressures and the mishandled relationship crises with sympathy for their earlier selves. So it is no surprise to discover that in any given fortnight, many teenagers have felt low. The shock is just how low, and how many.

According to the latest reports by NHS Digital, one in eight children and young people aged between five and 19 had a mental disorder in England in 2017.

The study also reveals that 31.2 per cent of girls aged 11 to 16 and 52.7 per cent of girls aged 17 to 19 had self-harmed or attempted suicide.

The report certainly makes harrowing reading and what makes matters worse is that we know that the services designed to treat these issues are still underfunded and under resourced.

This serious and accelerating deterioration in young women and girls’ mental health should concern us all because if mental health disorders are not treated, they can lead to problems for the child’s whole life.

It is vital we see investment in mental health support and vital that we ensure the government sticks to its target of helping 70,000 more children a year to access specialist mental health care by 2020/21.