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One in five young people have a probable mental health condition according to new report

The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2023 report reveals significant rises in the number of probable mental health conditions and a significant increase in those diagnosed with eating disorders. The report is a follow on from the 2017 survey which reported an upswing in anxiety, depression and self-harm among young women. The impact of these figures will be felt across schools and colleges, with many dealing with difficulties in accessing local services due to demand.

Key findings include:

  • More than 1 in 4 children aged 8 to 16 years (26.8%) with a probable mental disorder had a parent who could not afford for their child to take part in activities outside school or college, compared with 1 in 10 (10.3%) of those unlikely to have a mental disorder.
  • Children aged 11 to 16 years with a probable mental disorder were 5 times more likely than those unlikely to have a mental disorder to have been bullied in person (36.9% compared with 7.6%). They were also more likely to have been bullied online (10.8% compared with 2.6%).
  • 2.6% of 11 to 16 year olds were identified with eating disorders, with rates 4 times higher in girls (4.3%) than boys (1.0%)
  • Of children aged 11 to 16, 23.3% reported having accessed support at school for mental health and wellbeing.
  • The most commonly reported sources of help and advice by parents for children with a probable mental disorder were: education services (73.6%), health services (48.9%), friends or family (42.3%) and online or telephone support (35.4%)

The NHS Mental Health Director Claire Murdoch said: “Today’s report shows the continued unprecedented pressures faced by young people and reflects the increased demand for NHS children’s mental health services.

“The NHS is providing support for more children and young people than ever before – we have already supported over 700,000 children and young people with their mental health this year and also seen a 47% increase in young people being treated for eating disorders compared to pre-pandemic.

“NHS staff are working harder than ever to meet the increased demand and we have fast-tracked mental health support for millions of pupils in schools and colleges, as well as significantly expanding the children’s mental health workforce. Our partners, especially in the education, voluntary and social care sectors, also have a critical role to play in supporting this effort.

“It is vital that any child or young person struggling, or their family, reaches out for help so they can get the care they need”.