More school pupils suffering mental health problems

Wednesday, 3 April 2024 23:48

By Martyn Smith, Local Democracy Reporter

Mental health problems are becoming a more common reason for missing school according to Dudley Council health experts. 

A report for members of the authority’s Health Select Committee said there is an increase in emotionally-based school avoidance and more young people are reporting mental health problems.

While it is impossible to determine exactly how many absences were directly linked to mental health from statistics, Dudley’s figures were higher than national averages.

In 2021/22, persistent absence, where pupils miss more than ten percent of school days, was 26 percent in Dudley compared with 23 percent in England and 4.7 percent of Dudley absences were related to illness.

Problems can be caused by deprivation, children from low-income families are four times more likely to experience mental health issues by the age of 11 compared to higher income families.

The committee was told more Dudley households were being pulled into poverty while others were falling deeper into financial problems as a result of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

Around 27 percent of children under 16 live in low income families in Dudley which is a significantly higher rate than in England as a whole.

Other mental health risk factors for young people can include discrimination, poor housing and living with a parent who suffers from mental health issues.

Bad experiences in childhood are linked to a third of mental health problems with maltreatment, violence, abuse, bullying, and bereavement all being risk factors.

Refugees and asylum seekers are more likely to suffer mental health difficulties and young people from the LGBTQ+ community are also at greater risk.

The report also says there has been a greater demand on mental health services from  young people over the past decade.

In 2019/20 there were 19,645 contacts with community or outpatient mental health services by Dudley residents aged under 18 and a 57 percent rise in children contacting mental health services in the Black Country between April 2012 and February 2023.

Dudley’s figures for hospital admissions related to self-harm by young people are below the national average and inpatient stays for mental health problems are significantly lower.

There is a wide range of support services for young people with mental health worries in Dudley including the Happier Minds website ( which has information on national and local services plus advice and support for young people, parents and carers.

Speaking when the website was launched, Cllr Ian Bevan, Dudley cabinet member for public health, said: “It is a dedicated resource to help people navigate the situation they are in, whether that’s a young person reaching out for support or a parent looking at what help is out there for their child.”

The NHS mental health crisis line (0800 008 6516) is open 24/7 for people of any age with an option for an immediate mental health assessment.  


Add a comment

Rating *

Recently Played


  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play

Useful Links


Travel News

How To Listen

Latest Podcasts

92.2 / 102.5 FM
'Play Black Country Radio'