One in eight (12.8 per cent) people aged between five and 19 years, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder, according to a new report published by NHS Digital.

The report – Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 – collected information from 9,117 children and young people and, for the first time, covered children aged two to 19. Previous surveys focused only on five- to 15-year-olds.

Looking at the five to 15-year-old age group, the overall prevalence of mental disorders increased from 9.7 per cent in 1999 and 10.1 per cent in 2004 to 11.2 per cent in 2017. When looking at five- to 19-year-olds, the 2017 prevalence is 12.8 per cent.

Mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders. Notably, emotional disorders have become more common in five- to 15-year-olds, going from 4.3 per cent in 1999, to 3.9 per cent in 2004 and 5.8 per cent in 2017. 

Commenting on the report, Mark Rowland, chief executive, Mental Health Foundation, said: “Until we address inequalities and ensure a consistent culture of prevention for all children, young people and their families, we will keep failing the next generation right at the start of their lives.”

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