Mental health disorders rising in young people according to new NHS survey

Last updated at 13:34
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The number of children and young people experiencing mental disorders in England has risen.

This is according to a new report published by the NHS, which surveyed 3,570 young people aged between 5-22 living in England, in July 2020.

They found that one in six children and young people were likely to have a mental health disorder, compared to one in nine in their 2017 survey.

Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England said: "This dramatic increase in the number of children struggling with mental health problems, worsened by the Covid crisis, is extremely alarming. It should shock the Government into immediate action to tackle a growing epidemic."

The report looked into family life, access to education and services, and worries and anxieties during the coronavirus pandemic.

What else did the report say?
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The report found that mental health disorders were more common in older girls than boys - 27.2% of young women versus 13.3% of young men were identified as having a probable mental disorder in the 17 to 22 year old age group.

Getting enough sleep was a problem. More than half of the young people surveyed, who likely had a mental disorder, said they had trouble sleeping.

The survey also found that the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on people's mental health disorders.

More than half of the 11 to 16 year olds surveyed, who likely had mental disorders, said that the coronavirus lockdown had made their lives worse. Of those surveyed, things like being worried about friends and family catching coronavirus, and missing out on school, were some of the biggest concerns.

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Mental health: Questions answered by an expert (2017)

Young people who likely had mental health disorder were more likely to have witnessed an argument between adults in their family. Among the 11 to 16 year old girls surveyed, 63.8% of those likely to have a mental disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in their home, compared with 46.8% of those unlikely to have a mental disorder.

Children aged 5 to 16 years with probable mental disorders were more than twice as likely to live in a house that was falling behind on payments, than those who weren't.

Of the children aged 5 to 16 years who likely had a mental disorder, around six in ten said they were getting regular support from their school or college, compared to 76.4% of those who were unlikely to have a mental disorder.

Speaking about the findings, the Children's Commissioner said: "While there have been some welcome improvements in children's mental health services over recent years, clearly the scale of the problem is getting worse, and what has been promised is just not enough.

"The NHS will have to upscale radically its plans for children's mental health just to meet its existing commitments. Every school needs an NHS funded counsellor as a minimum, and we need a children's mental health service that is properly funded, with no postcode lottery, so that children receive the support and treatment they need as quickly as possible."

The survey was made in collaboration with the Office for National Statistics, the National Centre for Social Research, the University of Cambridge and the University of Exeter.

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If you're worried about mental health, wellbeing, or if you have any questions, speak to an adult that you trust. It might be a teacher or an older relative.

You might wish to speak to your local doctor or you can also ring Childline for free on 0800 11 11. This number does not show up on your phone bill.

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24 comments
  • I once told my mum that I think I have OCD. She said it's just my anxiety. If it's just anxiety, why do I count stairs? Why do I count how long I've been on devices? I don't think lockdown has helped; I've started observing people's distance from one another, I wash my hands again if I think I washed my hands rubbish the first time. It doesn't help being autistic
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 - calls are free, confidential and won't show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

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  • Honestly my mental health isn't that good, and it's kind of been the same and not improved during lockdown, and my family has had more arguments and lockdowns made me not want to be around my family even more
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 - calls are free, confidential and won't show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

    Newsround

  • My friends going through a hard time . She wont talk to me and theres nothing i can do
    Message from Newsround

    It sounds like your friend needs to talk to someone about what they are going through at the moment. They could speak to a family member, a guardian, a friend, or a teacher.

    If there is no one they feel they can speak to then there are advice helplines here: Help and advice page

    Your friend should try to talk to someone as soon as possible. It might surprise them how much better it feels when you share a problem.

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  • I suffer from a mental disorder, lockdown made it worse, I need help.
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 - calls are free, confidential and won't show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

    Newsround

  • I think I might have a mental health disorder :(
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 - calls are free, confidential and won't show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

    Newsround

  • I think i suffer one of these
    Message from Newsround

    We're sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. It could really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can confide in any trusted adult such as a parent, relative or teacher, but if there is no one you feel you can speak to, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11 - calls are free, confidential and won't show up on any bill. You can also visit the Childline website at childline.org.uk, and there is a free Childline app you can download called For Me.

    Do try to speak to someone as soon as possible. You might be surprised to find out how much better you feel when you share your feelings.

    Newsround