Mental health statistics

In this section, you will find key statistics about children and young people's mental health and wellbeing.

  • 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every class (1).
  • Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2).
  • There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68% (3).
  • More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time (4).
  • Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression (5).
  • Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression (6).
  • 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems - these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society (7).
  • 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder (8).
  • The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s (9).
  • The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999 (10) 

There is Key Data on Adolescence 2013 from the Association for Young People's Health available here which has a section, Chapter 6, dedicated to Mental Health.

More detailed statistics

A more detailed analysis of the figures on depression, conduct disorders and anxiety in children are listed below.

MEntal Disorders

The figures below are based on the finding of the latest ONS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey which was published in 2004 (11).

Any figures on the number of children with these disorders are estimates based on the prevalence rates found in this study and demographic data from the 2001 census.

  • 9.6% or nearly 850,000 children and young people aged between 5-16 years have a mental disorder
  • 7.7% or nearly 340,000 children aged 5-10 years have a mental disorder
  • 11.5% or about 510,000 young people aged between 11-16 years have a mental disorder

Anxiety

  • 3.3% or about 290,000 children and young people have an anxiety disorder
  • 2.2% or about 96,000 children have an anxiety disorder
  • 4.4% or about 195,000 young people have an anxiety disorder

Depression

  • 0.9% or nearly 80,000 children and young people are seriously depressed
  • 0.2% or about 8,700 aged 5-10 year-olds are seriously depressed.
  • 1.4% or about 62,000 aged 11-16 year-olds are seriously depressed.

Conduct Disorders

  • 5.8% or just over 510,000 children and young people have a conduct disorder
  • 4.9% or nearly 215,000 children have a conduct disorder
  • 6.6% or just over 290,000 young people have a conduct disorder

Hyperkinetic Disorder (Severe ADHD)

  • 1.5% or just over 132,000 children and young people have severe ADHD
  • 1.6% or about 70,000 children have severe ADHD
  • 1.4% or  about 62,000 young people have severe ADHD

Sources

1 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave. 

2 Mental Health Foundation (2006). Truth hurts: report of the National Inquiry into self-harm among young people. London: Mental Health Foundation

3 YoungMinds (2011) 100,000 children and young people could be hospitalised due to self-harm by 2020 warns YoungMinds. London: YoungMinds.

4 Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Moffitt, TE., et al (2003): Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, Vol 60, pp.709-717.

5 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.

6 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.

7 Sempik, J. et al. (2008) Emotional and behavioural difficulties of children and young people at entry into care. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 13 (2), pp. 221-233.

8 Office for National Statistics (1997): Psychiatric morbidity among young offenders in England and Wales. London: Office for National Statistics.

9 Nuffield Foundation (2013) Social trends and mental health: introducing the main findings. London: Nuffield Foundation.

10 Collishaw, S. et al. (2004) Time trends in adolescent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45:8, pp 1350–1362.

11 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.