Mental Health Statistics

Key Statistics

  • One in Four (26%) young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts[i]
  • ChildLine (UK) has revealed that it held 34,517 counselling sessions in 2013/14 with children who talked about suicide – a 116 percent increase since 2010/11.[ii]
  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, particularly since the mid 1980’s.[iii]
  • The number of children and young people who have presented to A&E with a psychiatric condition have more than doubled since 2009. (8,358 in 10/11; 17,278 in 13/14)[iv]
  • 55% of children who have been bullied later developed depression as adults[v]
  • 45% of children and young people under the age of 18 detained under s.136 were taken to police custody in 2012/13[vi]

Vulnerable Groups

 Young offenders

  • 10% of 13-18 year olds in custody suffer from anxiety[vii]
  • 43% of young people in prison have ADHD[viii]

Looked after children

  • 22.9% of looked after children aged 5-15 demonstrated emotional problems.[ix]
  • 18.9% of looked after children below the age of five (19.3% of boys and 17.4% of girls) showed signs of emotional or behavioural problems.[x]
  • Looked After Children and care leavers are between four and five times more likely to attempt suicide in adulthood[xi]


  • 44% of young (16-24 year old) LGBT people have considered suicide[xii]
  • More than half (55 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced direct bullying. Those who are bullied are at a higher risk of suicide, self-harm and depression.
  • Two in five (41 per cent) have attempted or thought about taking their own life directly because of bullying and the same number say that they deliberately self-harm directly because of bullying.[xiii]


  • A recent study of young people of Asian origin in the UK found that the suicide rate of 16-24 year old women was three times that of 16-24 year old women of white British origin[xiv]
  • Amongst 11–15-year-old boys,white, black and Indian adolescents showed very similar prevalence rates (around 5% in each group), whereas Pakistani and Bangladeshi adolescents had a prevalence rate of over 12% for emotional disorders[xv]


  • Rates of psychiatric disorder are up to four times greater in children with     chronic physical illness than in children who are physically well.[xvi]

Homeless Youth[xvii]

  • Young people living in hostels/b&b accommodation are 8 times more likely to suffer from mental illness than the general population
  • Young people living on the streets are 11 times more likely to suffer from mental illness than the general population

Young People in gangs[xviii]

  •  86% will have conduct problems
  • 59% will have anxiety disorders
  • 34% will have attempted suicide
  • 25% will have psychosis
  • 20% will have depression
  • 30% of female gang members identify as self-harming or at risk of suicide.[xix]

Unemployed young people[xx]

  • One in 5 long term unemployed young people feel they have nothing to live for
  • 1 in 4 long term unemployed young people have been prescribed antidepressants
  • 1 in 4 long term unemployed young people have self-harmed
  • “Poor mental health” is positively associated with the probability of being “not in education, employment or training” (NEET). It increases the probability of NEET by 2.7 and 3.3 percentage points for girls and boys respectively after detailed controls are added.[xxi]

Conditions and Behaviours

Anxiety and Depression

  •  The proportion of 15/16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the last 30 years, from 1 in 30 to 2 in 30 for boys and 1 in 10 to 2 in ten for girls.[xxii]
  •  Nearly 300,000 young people in Britain have an anxiety disorder.[xxiii]
  •  Children with generalised anxiety disorder and those with depression had the most days away from school – a quarter had had more than 15 days absence in the previous term.[xxiv]


  •  A survey of 10,438 children between the ages of 5 and 15 years found that 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls had ADHD.[xxv]
  • Two-thirds of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have comorbid learning disorders or other mental health or neurodevelopmental conditions[xxvi]


  • 25% of autistic children were reported to have tried to harm or kill themselves[xxvii]

Eating Disorders

  • The numbers of young people calling Childline for help about Eating Disorders has increased by 110% since 2011[xxviii]
  • The number of hospital admissions across the UK for teenagers with eating disorders has nearly doubled in the last three years (959 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010/11 to 1,815 in 2013/14)[xxix]

Self harm

  • About 25% of young people self-harm on one occasion, most commonly by cutting. 87% of young people who self-harm do not seek treatment from an acute hospital.[xxx]
  • Over half (59%) of young people interviewed said they had researched suicide online.[xxxi]
  • A&E presentations of self-harm by those aged 17 and under have risen by 30% since 2003-04[xxxii]
  • Between 2001 and 2011 inpatient admissions for young people who self-harm increased by 68%. Among females under 25, there was a 77% increase in ten years (2001-2011)[xxxiii]

Youth Suicide

  • 1 in 10 suicides in the UK are by those aged 15-24[xxxiv]
  • Up to 160 young people under the age of 20 die by suicide in England each year, 60-70 of whom are under 18. Only 14% of suicides aged under 20 have been in contact with specialist mental health services [xxxv]