Almost a quarter of 16-year-old girls in England have come into contact with NHS mental health, autism and learning disabilities services in the past year.
New figures show a sharp rise in the number of children and young people seeking help, with almost a million contacting the NHS.
There has been an increase across all age groups, with almost a fifth more people needing help than three years ago.
Data shows a 29% increase in 2021/22 in the number of under-18s in contact with Mental Healthlearning disabilities and autism services over 2020/21.
Some 992,647 people needed help in 2021/22, compared to 768,083 in 2020/21 and 763,888 in 2019/20.
Overall, 18% of 16-year-olds (114,203) and 17% of 17-year-olds (101,694) nationwide have come into contact with these services in the past year.
Girls aged 16 were the most likely to need help, with 23% (69,580) having sought help in the previous year.
The number of young people aged 11 to 15 in contact with services has also increased, from 359,681 in 2020/21 to 498,558 in 2021/22, an increase of 39%.
Olly Parker, External Affairs Manager at YoungMinds, said: “These figures demonstrate the unprecedented crisis taking place in young people’s mental health, with nearly one in five 16-year-olds across the country coming into contact with mental health services The situation is untenable .
“Thousands of young people seek mental health support, but too many are being told to wait, struggle to cope, and reach crisis point before getting help.
“We know that young women in particular face a wide range of pressures that can affect their mental health – from stress at school to difficult relationships with family or friends and issues and concerns about body image often exacerbated by social media.
“For years, politicians have promised to end the crisis in young people’s mental health. But the reality is that with every month of inaction, things get worse.”
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Sharp increase in the number of young people with mental health problems
NHS digital data shows 3,256,695 people of all ages came into contact with mental health, learning disabilities and autism services at some point in the year – 992,647 of them had under 18 years old.
The overall total has risen by nearly a fifth in three years, from 2,803,244 in 2020/21, 2,878,636 in 2019/20 and 2,726,721 in 2018/19.
This means that 5.8% of the English population have come into contact with NHS mental health services in the past year.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call the Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the United States, call your local Samaritans branch or 1 (800) 273-TALK.