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Mental Health Statistics

Young people’s mental health and wellbeing has never been so important. These statistics show just how big – and growing – the problem is for young people in the UK

Mental health is a big issue for young people…

  • 1 in 8 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom (i).
  • 1 in 6 young people aged 16-24 has symptoms of a common mental disorder such as depression or an anxiety disorder (ii).
  • Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24 (iii).
  • In 2017, suicide was the most common cause of death for both boys (16.2% of all deaths) and girls (13.3%) aged between 5 and 19 (iv).
  • Nearly half of 17-19 year olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder has self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, rising to 52.7% for young women (v).

It has a big impact in adulthood...

  • 1 in 3 adult mental health conditions relate directly to adverse childhood experiences (vi).
  • Adults who experienced four or more adversities in their childhood are four times more likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing and life satisfaction (vii).

Young people need more support…

  • Less than 1 in 3 children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition get access to NHS care and treatment (viii).
  • The average median waiting time for children in 2017/18 was 5 weeks to receive an initial assessment and 9 weeks to receive treatment (ix).
  • In a YoungMinds survey, three-quarters (76%) of parents said that their child's mental health had deteriorated while waiting for support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) (x).
  • In total, less than 1% of the total NHS budget is spent on children and young people’s mental health services (xi).
  • The number of A&E attendances by young people aged 18 or under with a recorded diagnosis of a psychiatric condition has almost tripled since 2010 (xii). 

References

i. NHS Digital (2018) ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’ Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2017/2017. Based on 12.8% of 5 to 19 year olds being identified as having a diagnosable mental health condition.

ii. NHS Digital (2017) Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, England, 2014. Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/adult-psychiatric-morbidity-survey/adult-psychiatric-morbidity-survey-survey-of-mental-health-and-wellbeing-england-2014. Based on 17.3% of 16-24 year olds being identified as having a CIS-R score of 12 or higher. A CIS-R score of 12 or more is the threshold applied to indicate that a level of CMD symptoms is present so that primary care is warranted.

iii. Kessler RC et al. (2005). ‘Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication’.

iv. Office for National Statistics (2017) ‘Deaths registered in England and Wales’ Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredinenglandandwalesseriesdr/2017#suicide-accounted-for-an-increased-proportion-of-deaths-at-ages-5-to-19-years-in-2017

v. NHS Digital (2018) ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’ Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2017/2017. Based on 46.8% of 17 to 19 year olds that were identified as having a diagnosable mental health condition reporting that they had harmed themselves or tried to kill themselves at some point. 

vi. Kessler, R. (2010) ‘Childhood adversities and adult psychopathology in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys’ British Journal of Psychiatry 197(5): 378–385.

vii. Mehta, D. et al. (2013) ‘Childhood maltreatment is associated with distinct genomic and epigenetic profiles in posttraumatic stress disorder’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(20): 8302–8307: http://www.pnas.org/content/110/20/8302.full.pdf

viii. National Audit Office (2018) ‘Improving children and young people’s mental health services’. Available at https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Improving-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-services.pdf

ix. Crenna-Jennings, W.; Hutchinson, J. (2018) ‘Access to children and young people’s mental health services’. Education Policy Institute. Available at: https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/access-to-camhs-2018. The average median waiting time refers the average figure that CCGs across the country gave for their median waiting time. 

x. YoungMinds (2018) ‘A new era for young people’s mental health’. Available at https://youngminds.org.uk/media/2620/a-new-era-for-young-peoples-mental-health.pdf 

xi. National Audit Office (2018) ‘Improving children and young people’s mental health services’. Available at: https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Improving-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-services.pdf 

xii. https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/ae-attendances-by-young-people-with-psychiatric-conditions-almost-doubled-in-five-years-new-figures/ Original written answer available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2018-10-18/181292/

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