Depression affects nearly 80,000 children and young people in the UK, including over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old. The illness has varied symptoms ranging from mild to severe – both physical and mental.
By 2030, more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem, the World Health Organisation has predicted.
The NICE quality standard, based on the NICE clinical guideline on depression in children and young people, has been designed to improve the diagnosis and management of those aged 5-18 years with depression.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care, has developed the quality standard at NICE. She stated, “It is important there are clear steps in place to aid healthcare professionals involved in treating children and young people with depression, so that they can deliver the very best levels of care across the NHS.”
The quality standard has outlined a number of suggestions to improve the level of care for young people with depression: diagnosis should be confirmed and recorded in medical records, age-appropriate information should be readily available, and prompt access to services is essential if children and young people are to receive the right treatment at the right time.
Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds, endorsed the quality standard and said, “We particularly welcome the need for age-appropriate information. Children and young people we work with tell us how important it is to have information that enables them to be involved in decisions about their care.”
High-risk children and young people with the condition will be referred to and assessed by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).