Haringey health report: ‘Thousands living with undiagnosed anxiety and depression’

PUBLISHED: 17:06 15 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:06 15 October 2014

It is thought thousands of people are struggling with undiagnosed depression in Haringey. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

It is thought thousands of people are struggling with undiagnosed depression in Haringey. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Thousands of people in Haringey are living under the strain of undiagnosed depression, new research has found.

Haringey Council’s Annual Public Health Report, released last week, estimates that 34,500 adults and 3,000 children and young people in Haringey have common mental health problems, but only about half will seek help, leaving the rest of to go unrecognised and undiagnosed.

Only 3.7 per cent of people in Haringey have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression – significantly lower than the national average of 6 per cent, suggesting many are going without help, possibly the result of a reluctance to seek professional help.

Haringey health professionals are concerned that this reluctance could be partly responsible for the borough’s suicide rate being 33 per cent higher than London’s average.

In addition, the report also estimates that more than half of all residents in some areas are living with undiagnosed depression.

The council and Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have committed to ensuring mental health care is on a par with those who are treated for physical health problems.

Young people are a particular target, and the council has approached a number of agencies and organisations to provide several community projects, including YoungMinds, which is helping teachers in 24 schools to identify and support children struggling with emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Encouraging them to write about their thoughts and feelings leads to significant improvements in behaviour and ability.

Roger Catchpole of YoungMinds says their work can have long-term benefits: “There’s overwhelming evidence which shows a majority of adults with mental health problems had developmental problems in childhood and didn’t get the support they needed.”

State Of Play, another project, helps young people look after their mental health and wellbeing through sport and even gives them the chance to gain an FA coaching qualification.

Nick Barnes, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust who works on the State Of Play programme said: “We need to move away from a model where mental health is mostly dealt with in clinics and hospitals.

“It is much more important that discussions happen in schools, in youth centres and amongst young people as mental health needs to be seen as ‘everyone’s business’.”

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