New Figures Show A Rise In Young People's Mental Health Problems Since 2004

NHS Digital has released new data which looked at the prevalence of mental health problems among children and young people between the ages of 2-19.

This was the first data of its kind to be released about the number of young people experiencing mental health problems since 2004, and it found that:

  • One in eight (12.8%) children and young people aged between five and 19 has a diagnosable mental health condition
  • The prevalence of 5-15 year olds experiencing emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression) has increased by 48% – from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017.
  • Nearly a quarter (22.4%) of young women aged 17-19 has an emotional disorder
  • A third (34.9%) of the young people aged 14 to 19-years-old who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or with another sexual identity had a mental health condition, as opposed to 13.2% of those who identified as heterosexual.
  • Only a quarter (25.2%) of 5-19 year olds with a mental health condition had contact with mental health specialists in the past year, meaning that three-quarters hadn’t had any contact with mental health services.

Emma Thomas, our Chief Executive, said:

“Today’s report shows how widespread mental health problems are among children and young people – and, against current targets, more than two-thirds won’t be able to access NHS support. We hear every day on our Parents Helpline about the devastating effects of long waiting times and high thresholds for treatment. Despite some improvements in recent years, services remain inconsistent and overstretched – and this needs to change."

That’s why it’s crucial that children’s mental health is a priority in the new NHS Long Term Plan.

"That’s why it’s crucial that children’s mental health is a priority in the new NHS Long Term Plan. We need more investment in specialist services, as well as better early intervention for children and families in local communities.”

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