THE MENTAL health of children and young people with epilepsy is at risk due to a lack of specialist services, according to a Yeadon-based national charity.

Epilepsy Action says research shows children and young adults with the condition in the UK are four times more vulnerable to mental health problems. It says many of the 112,000 children and young adults with epilepsy have a lower quality of life than their peers.

Despite this, a recent report, published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, revealed that almost 90 per cent of health boards and trusts do not offer any mental health support within epilepsy clinics.

The Epilepsy123 audit also found that only half the health boards and trusts currently provide epilepsy advice between specialist appointments, when families need it most.

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “The impact of epilepsy goes way beyond the seizures themselves. Young people with epilepsy are particularly vulnerable to anxiety and depression, even when compared to those living with other chronic health conditions. They are at a heightened risk of suicidal thoughts.

“We know that these problems often go undiagnosed and untreated. Teenagers with epilepsy need specialist mental health screening and support - it is shocking that most areas do not offer it. Epilepsy Action is working hard to bridge the gap, but it’s crucial that families get this help before they reach crisis point.”

With a range of resources, Epilepsy Action gives children and young people the tools to learn about their epilepsy. Support services include an expert phone and email helpline, online and social media advice and nationwide family events. Services like these can help teens adjust to their epilepsy diagnosis and feel less isolated by it.

On Purple Day, March 26, people with epilepsy all over the world will share their stories to raise awareness. Epilepsy Action says it wants to see the day when every child and young person with the condition feels informed, supported and confident about their health. To donate £5 to Epilepsy Action, text PURPLE to 70500. Texts cost £5 plus the standard network rate. UK only. Epilepsy Action will receive 100 per cent of the donation. Visit or call 0113 210 8800 to find out more.