Rise in youth mental health cases in Guernsey

Dr James Murray
Image caption Dr Murray said online bullying can be a cause of mental health issues

The number of young people in Guernsey seeking help with mental health issues is expected to hit a new high, according to an island psychologist.

Dr James Murray, head of clinical psychology, estimated that 480 referrals to mental health services would be made this year.

He said the most common problems were anxiety and depression.

But he said one of the reasons for the increase in those seeking help was more awareness of mental health issues.

Dr Murray also said times had changed, with online bullying being an important issue for children.

'Not surprised'

He said: "Children nowadays are facing bullying by Facebook, by mobile phone text message... children nowadays aren't able to get away from it quite often."

He said parents could help children avoid some issues by monitoring their online activities.

According to Health and Social Services, the number of referrals to mental health services rose from 351 in 2007 to 410 in 2009.

Between January and June 2011 240 children were referred.

Milly Dudley-Owen, head of local parents' support group Guernsey Mums, said she was not surprised by the figures.

She said mental health issues did have a stigma which could often make people reluctant to speak out.

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