One in ten girls aged 14 to 17 were referred to specialist mental health services in England last year.
Figures show 127,425 girls in the age group sought help from the NHS-funded secondary mental health and learning disability services in 2016.
While 11.4 per cent of 16 and 17-year-old girls were referred, 10 per cent of 14 to 15-year-olds also used the services. The number was higher than for males – 100,389 boys aged 14 to 17 received help, eight per cent of the total age group.
Secondary mental health care is intended for patients with serious and complex psychiatric disorders and treatment is provided by psychiatrists or clinical psychologists.
One in ten girls aged 14 to 17 were referred to specialist mental health services in England last year (file photo)
Referrals are made by GPs or mental health workers who feel a patient’s problems are too complex for them to treat.
The figures for teenagers, released for the first time by NHS Digital, are markedly higher than those for the general population.
A total of 2,637,916 people of all ages contacted the secondary mental health services last year, of which 556,790 were under 18, which equates to around one in six. Of all the under-18s referred, 302,198 were boys and 253,085 were girls.
Just 4.8 per cent of people in England were referred to the mental health services, less than half the proportion of adolescent girls who needed help.
The NSPCC said many children who were at crisis point are not able to receive the help they need.
A spokesman said: ‘These findings sadly reflect what children have told our Childline service, with one in three counselling sessions last year relating to mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues.
‘Many children have told us they are struggling to access support, even at crisis point.
‘Without improvements in how services are funded, planned and delivered, thousands of children will continue to struggle.’
The children’s charity also called for a Government Green Paper on children’s mental health to set out how support systems will be improved so ‘no child suffers in silence’.
Figures show 127,425 girls in the age group 14-17 sought help from the NHS-funded secondary mental health and learning disability services in 2016 (file photo)
The over-90s had the highest rate of referrals as 18.9 per cent of the age group received treatment. And 12 per cent of pensioners aged between 80 and 89 also used the mental health service last year.
Referrals for those aged under 14 and between the ages of 50 and 59 were comparably low, at 3.5 per cent and 3.6 per cent of either age group respectively.
Of those who used the NHS-backed services last year, 3.9 per cent spent time in hospital.
The figures come soon after a study found nearly one in four teenage girls suffer from depression.
Analysis released in September found 24 per cent of 14-year-old girls and nine per cent of boys in the same age group were depressed.
Data collected by the Millennium Cohort Study on more than 10,000 children born in the year 2000-01 was studied by University College London and the University of Liverpool.
It shows that girls and boys have similar levels of emotional problems in childhood. But once they hit puberty, girls are more likely to be affected by mental health problems.
Conversely, parents were more likely to identify boys with depression and fewer recognised girls were showing symptoms.