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Nationally, there is a significant gap between children and young people’s need for mental health support, and the help available.

Before the pandemic, around one in eight children and young people experienced mental health difficulties severe enough to warrant specialist support, but only a quarter of those children and young people received it.[1] The number of children and young people with a probable mental disorder has now risen to one in six.[2]

Social inequalities and discrimination exacerbate mental health challenges, and undermine children, young people and families’ abilities to access the help they need.

This report was produced following a period of cross-sector discussions with colleagues and communities in North West England. It spotlights six areas of children's lives – six among many – where more collective action is needed. These are:

  • The gap between aspiration and capacity in delivering mentally healthy schools and FE colleges
  • The gap in services for families who have experienced trauma
  • The gap in support for fathers in the perinatal period
  • The gap in effective support for young people in complex contexts or with multiple difficulties
  • The gap in meaningful participation
  • The gap between the research and the help that’s offered

The report sets out evidence of the challenges faced, and highlights examples of pioneering advances and promising practice within the North West.

Closing the gap in child and youth mental health support

View and download Closing the gap in child and youth mental health support: insights from the North West

[1]NHS Digital. Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 (2018).

[2] NHS Digital. Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey. (2020)

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