Posted 31st January 2019
New data shows childhood anxiety and behaviour problems “widespread”
A recent report from NHS Digital (November 2018) provides important new insight into UK children’s mental health.
This is the first report of national childhood mental health data since 2004. It confirms mounting concerns about the number of children who experience mental health problems, and their limited access to NHS support.
Adolescence is often regarded as the time when mental disorders set in. However, the new NHS report shows big increases in problems among 5 – 10 year olds, which look set to swell the number of teenagers in crisis in the near future.
The overall percentage of troubled primary school children has risen by 23% since 2004. Emotional disorders in the age group are up by 71% (from 2.4% to 4.1%). Conduct disorders have also increased by around 12% (from 4.9% to 5.5% of 5-10 year olds).
Scant support for parents and children is a major factor in mental crisis and misery later on. Young Minds CEO Emma Thomas comments:
“We hear every day on our Parents Helpline about the devastating effects of long waiting times and high thresholds for treatment.”
Other key findings
- One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017, compared to one in ten (10%) in 2004.
- Rates in mental disorder among 5-15 year olds rose from 9.7% in 1999 to 11.2% in 2017.
- 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 .