The Mental Health of Children and Young People in Cambridgeshire 2013


There are a large number of risk factors that increase the vulnerability of children and adolescents experiencing mental health problems. These include deprivation, poor educational and employment opportunities, enduring poor physical health, peer and family relationships, witnessing domestic violence, and having a parent who misuses substances or suffers from mental ill-health.  Children who have been physically and sexually abused are at particular risk.  Asylum seeker and refugee children have consistently been shown to have higher levels of mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.[1]

The way that children are parented, their diet and exercise, their school and education, experimentation with drink, drugs and other substances, along with many other factors, will all affect a child’s mental wellbeing or mental ill-health.

The following report examines local and national data sources and information relating to the mental health of children and young people in Cambridgeshire.  This builds on the previous report ‘A profile of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in Cambridgeshire 2008’.[2]

It is important to note that two of the Cambridgeshire Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) cover mental health: The Children and Young People JSNA[3]  and the Adult Mental Health JSNA.[4]   There are some overlaps between the two reports for people in the older age bands, up to 18 years. In addition, there is overlap between this report and the JSNA on Physical and Learning Disability.[5]

 This report starts by setting the scene with the population estimates and forecasts for children and young people, and the maps of deprivation within Cambridgeshire.  It then examines the estimated prevalence of mental health disorders within the County, influencing factors on the mental health of children and specific groups of vulnerable children.  The report then tackles service and benchmarking information and finally, the evidence base.

It is important to note that this profile only relates to the population of children and young people in Cambridgeshire, and the services commissioned directly by NHS Cambridgeshire and/or Cambridgeshire County Council. However, it does not relate to service catchment areas.

[1]     Child and Adolescent Mental Health, A guide for healthcare professionals, June 2006, British Medical Association

[2]     Cambridgeshire PCT Public Health Information Team

[3]     Joint Strategic Need Assessment, Children & Young People, 2007/2008, Achieving the potential of Children and  Young People in Cambridgeshire; Cambridgeshire County Council an Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust 

[4]     Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, Adult Mental Health, 2007/2008, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust              

[5]     Cambridgeshire Public Health, Cambridgeshire County Council


Priority Needs

  • Service planning should take account of future demographics.
  • Services need to cater for and monitor the number of children and young people in vulnerable groups who access mental health services.
  • Service planning should take into account higher levels of prevalence in the most deprived wards.
  • Prevention should focus on building resilience in children and young people.
  • Improving the mental health of parents is key to improving the mental health of children and young people.  or maximum impact, this should be focused on children aged 0-3 in particular.
  • There should be more service focus on children and young people under the age of 15-16 years.
  • CPFT activity should urgently be increased.
  • Preparation of young people for transition to adult services should be the focus of future work for CAMH services.
  • More mental health services should be available in local venues.


The Mental Health of Children and Young People in Cambridgeshire (2.84 MB)