There has been a steep rise in the number of people arriving at A&E departments in England with mental health problems, figures show.
Experts say a lack of early support means patients are reaching crisis. Data compiled for the BBC by NHS Digital showed that between 2011-12 and 2015-16 the number of patients attending A&E units with psychiatric problems rose by nearly 50% to 165,000. For the under 18s alone the numbers almost doubled to nearly 22,000.
These figures represent a small minority of overall A&E attendances – just over 1% in total.
But the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that was likely to be the “tip of the iceberg” as these figures just included cases where the primary diagnosis was a psychiatric condition.
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