Free play and children’s mental health

Authors: Whitebread, D.

Source: The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health
Volume 1, No. 3, p167–169, November 2017

The growing crisis in children’s mental health in the UK is widely recognised. Data from children’s charities, including Childline and the UK National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, have shown substantial and worrying increases in demand for their support, with Childline reporting a 36% increase from 2013 to 2016 in calls from children seeking help for serious mental health issues. A 2016 report from Public Health England estimated that 695 000 children in England aged 5–16 years (ie, 10% of all children in England) had a clinically significant mental health illness.

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