Figures published by the NHS show that at the end of February this year, there were 240,020 under-19s in contact with mental health services.
This is a rise of 7.3 per cent on the figure for March 2016 of 223,680.
The figures show that at the end of February, under-19s accounted for a fifth (20.7 per cent) of all those making contact with mental health services. There were 42,729 new referrals during February.
There has been a particular increase in the number of young people seeking help for eating disorders. Between January and the end of March this year, there were 1,635 new referrals for under-19s with eating disorders, compared with 604 new referrals over the same period in 2016.
Young Minds Chief Executive Sarah Brennan blamed cuts to early intervention support over a number of years for the rise in demand for mental health support among young people. She also called for the next government to ensure schools do more to support children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.