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New report from NHS Digital shows sharp increase in children experiencing mental health difficulties

A new report from NHS Digital looks at the mental health of children and young people in England in July 2020, and how this has changed since 2017.

Read the mental health of children and young people in England, 2020 report

The report, published today, reveals that the proportion of children who are experiencing mental health difficulties has increased over the past three years, from one in nine in 2017, to one in six as of July 2020. The increase was evident in both boys and girls.

The report draws on a sample of 3,570 children and young people aged between 5 to 22 years old. It additionally looks at experiences of family life, education and services, and worries and anxieties during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Among children of primary school age (5 to 10 year olds), 14.4% had a probable mental disorder in 2020, an increase from 9.4% in 2017.
  • Among secondary school aged children (11 to 16 year olds), 17.6% were identified with a probable mental disorder in 2020, an increase from 12.6% in 2017.
  • Around 62.6% of children aged 5 – 16 (about 6 in 10) with a probable mental health disorder had regular support from their school or college.
  • Among secondary school aged girls (11 to 16 year olds)– 63.8% identified with a probable mental health disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in the household.
  • Children aged 5 – 16 years with a probable mental health disorder were more than twice as likely to live in a household that had fallen behind with payments (16.3%).
  • 54.1% of secondary aged children (11 to 16 year olds) with an existing mental health disorder, were more likely to say that the coronavirus lockdown had made their life worse.

 

In response to the new data, Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said:

“There has been a significant and worrying deterioration of the mental health of our children in recent years. The impact of the pandemic has exacerbated an already desperate situation for many families across the UK. School leaders and teachers are doing their best to support children’s wellbeing, but they cannot do it alone. Children’s mental health is everyone’s business, and we need a joined-up response to ensure that no child or young person has to face mental health problems alone.”

Access the full report: Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey

For more information on how Place2Be has adapted to the pandemic, and for advice and support, visit our Coronavirus page.

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