NSPCC on report on youngsters' mental disorders: 'We're failing young people'

Thursday, November 22, 2018

One in eight young people had a mental disorder in 2017, a new study has found.

NHS Digital surveyed 9,117 children between the ages of five and 19, and found that 12.8% of them had a mental disorder last year.

This age group has not been studied before so it is not possible to see whether that figure is more or less than previous years, but an increase can be seen in five to 15-year-olds.

Mental disorders in this age group have risen to 11.2% in 2017, from 9.7% in 1999.

The report looked at four categories of disorder: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders.

Emotional disorders increased in the five to 15 age group, from 4.3% in 1999 to 5.8% in 2017, while the levels of other disorders remained similar.



The highest prevalence of disorders was seen in teenagers, with one in six 17 to 19-year-olds found have a mental disorder. Emotional disorders were the most common.

Almost half (46.8%) of those with a disorder had self-harmed or attemped suicide.

The figures were even higher among girls, with 22.4% classified by the study as having an emotional disorder.

Additionally, 5.6% of young women were found to have body dysmorphic disorder.

Teens who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or another sexual orientation had a higher instance of mental disorders than their heterosexual peers, with a 34.9% prevalence.


'Failing young people'

Picture posed by model. Image: Pexels

In response to the report, Alana Ryan, Senior Policy Officer at the NSPCC, said: “When a generation of children are struggling with their mental health with many having self-harmed or attempted suicide, we are fundamentally failing our young people.

“Our own research shows even if children are referred for specialist mental health treatment there is a slim chance they will receive it, which is totally unacceptable.

“And a paltry 12% of Clinical Commissioning Groups have carried out satisfactory needs assessments of vulnerable children, meaning those who are most in need of support are the most at risk of missing out.

“The government's plans to transform children's mental health provision are laudable, but problems in planning and provision run deep. Without a radical review of CAMHS, it’s likely children will continue to only receive support at crisis point.”


Children refused treatment

In May, the NSPCC released a report that found the equivalent of 183 children per school day were referred for mental health treatment last year, but nearly a third were refused treatment due to a lack of resources.

In the Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed a new NHS mental health crisis service, which will include mental health support in every major A&E department, more mental health ambulances, "safe havens" in communities and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline.

The service is part of the NHS 10-year plan, and will be covered by the £20.5 billion of government funding per annum, announced by Theresa May back in June.

If you are struggling with mental health issues you can reach the Samaritans on 116 123 or Childline on 0800 1111