Anxiety Epidemic For North East Children

A three-year-old girl in the North East was admitted to hospital suffering from anxiety, figures have revealed.
The shocking case is just one of many as an anxiety epidemic is on the rise in the region.

A child is taken to hospital suffering from anxiety more than once a day in the North East and the numbers are rising, figures from NHS Digital show. In 2015 to 2016, 468 children in the North East were admitted to hospital and diagnosed with either primary or secondary anxiety. This means the equivalent of 1.3 admissions every day.

Teenage girls were the most likely to end up seeking hospital treatment due to the condition with 338 admissions in 2015 to 2016.There were 74 18-year-old girls and 68 15-year-old girls on record. This had increased by more than 14% from the previous year when 296 young girls were admitted to hospital.

Cases of teenage boys seeking treatment had also increased from 117 to 130. There were 17 admissions from 15-year-old boys.

However, the most alarming case involved a toddler aged just three who was diagnosed with either primary or secondary anxiety after she was taken to hospital.

The North East is not alone in this worrying epidemic as across England, three girls and one boy under the age of one were the youngest children to become victim to anxiety.

In total, 13,400 under 18s had to be admitted to hospital across the country - the equivalent to one admission every 39 minutes. This was also a dramatic increase of 47.5% from the previous year which had 9,086.

Some diagnoses included in the data from the study are organic anxiety disorder, phobic anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder of childhood, phobic anxiety disorder of childhood, and social anxiety disorder of childhood.

Lynn Renwick, a service manager for young people at Children North East, is not surprised by the figures as their charity currently treats 120 young people with mental health issues.

She said: “Around 60% of those people would be female and out of those people around 80% will be referred for anxiety and panic.

“We’ve seen an increase over the last year for referrals due to school stress and anxiety, especially those at GCSE age."

Words by Linda Mintle

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