Young adults Statistics

Statistics about young adults with mental health problems.

The total population estimate in 2009 was 51,809,700. 3,016,500 are aged 15-19 and 3,554,300 are aged 20-24.

The total estimate of young people aged 15-24 was 6,570,800. The next census is in 2011. (1)

  • 2.2% of 16-24 year olds in Great Britain experienced a depressive episode. (2)
  • 4.7% of 16-24 year olds screen positive for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (2)
  • 16.4% of 16-24 year olds experienced neurotic symptoms. (2)
  • 0.2% of 16-24 year olds have a psychotic disorder. (2)
  • 1.9% of 16-24 year olds have a diagnosed personality disorder. (2)
  • 3.6 of 16-24 year olds have a generalised anxiety disorder. (2)
  • 2.3% of 16-24 year olds have an obsessive compulsive disorder. (2)
  • 6.2% of 16-24 year olds have attempted suicide in their lifetime. (2)
  • 8.9% of 16-24 year olds have self-harmed in their lifetime. (2)
  • In 2011, 194 15-19 year olds and 427 20-24 year olds committed suicide. (3)


1. Figures according to Office for National Statistics 2009
2. Figures according to Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England, 2007: Results of a household survey. Sally McManus, Howard Meltzer, Traolach Brugha, Paul Bebbington, Rachel Jenkins. The Health and Social Care Information Centre. London, 2009.
3. Office for National Statistics (2011) Suicides in the UK, 2011.  London: Office for National Statistics

risk factors

Statistics about the risk factors that impact on mental health (last updated 2010).


  • In 2010 21% of men aged 16-24 drank more than the recommended 21 units and 18% of women aged 16-24 drank more than the recommended 14 units.(1)


Statistics about young people and the prison population.

  • In December 2012 there were 7,672 15-20-year-olds being held in prisons in England and Wales.(2)
  •  7,423 were young men and 249 were young women.(2)
  • 989  were aged between 15-17years and 6,683 were aged between 18-20 years.(2)

Statistics about young people as victims of crime

  • Young men aged between 16-24 years are most at risk of being a victim of violent crime. In 2008/9 13.2% of young men in this age group experienced a violent crime compared to 5.5% of women in the same age group. There was a decline in risk as age increased. (3)
  • Young people are more likely to be victims of theft. 2.8% of young men aged 16-24 and 3.9% of young women aged 16-24 were victims of theft during 2008/9.(3)

Statistics about young people and drugs

  • Young people aged between 16-24 reported the highest levels of drug use in 2009/10.(4)
  • It is estimated that about 2.7 million young people in England and Wales have used an illicit drug at some point in their lives. 1.3 million used drugs in the previous year.(4)
  • It is estimated that 16.4% of 16-24 year olds had used a Class A drug at least once in their lifetime.(4)
  • It is estimated that 40.7% of 16-24 year olds have used one or more illicit drugs in their lifetime and 11.6% in the last month.(4)
  • In 2009/10 22.3% of 16-19 year olds reported illicit drug use.(4)

Learning disabilities

  • 36% of children and young people with a learning disability have a mental disorder. (5)

Education and Employment

  • It was estimated that in July-September 2012, the youth unemployment rate (age 16-24) was 20.7%.(6)
  • The proportion of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) was 11.3% in the third quarter of 2012,and the proportion of 19-24 year olds who were NEET was 19.6% in the same quarter. (7)


Provisional data for 2009/10 indicated that in England there were 15,510 homeless young people aged between 16-24. This data is based on local authorities’ decisions on homeless applications so the actual figure could be higher. (8)

Leaving Care

  • 10,000 young people aged 16 and over ceased to be looked after in 2012. (9)

Teenage Pregnancy

  • Teenage mothers have three times the rate of post-natal depression of older mothers and a higher risk of poor mental health for three years after the birth.(10)
  • Children of teenage mothers have a 63% increased risk of being born into poverty compared to babies born to mothers in their twenties, have higher mortality rates under 8 and are more likely to have accidents and behavioural problems.(10)
  • In 2006 there were 103,120 conceptions for women aged under 20. 42% ended in abortion. (11)

1. The Information Centre for Health and Social Care (2012), Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2012. London: The Information Centre for Health and Social Care
2.    Ministry of Justice (2012). Offender management statistics quarterly.
3.  Home Office (2006). Crime in England and Wales 2008/9. London: Home Office
4.  Hoare  J and Moon D. (2010). Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey: England and Wales. London: Home Office
5.  Emerson, E. & Hatton, C. (2007) The mental health of children and adolescents with learning disabilities in Britain. Lancaster: University of Lancaster.
6.  Office for National Statistics (2012)  Labour Market Statistics Nov 2012. London.
7.  Department for Education (2012) NEET Statistics- Quarterly brief. London.
8.  Department for Communities and Local Government (2010). Statutory Homelessness: homeless households accepted by local authorities.
9.  Department for Education (2012) Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England. London: Department for Education.
10. Department for Education and Skills (2010) Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010. London: DfES
11. Office for National Statistics (2009) Social Trends No 39. Office for National Statistics: London: Palgrave.