One in six children have experienced a probable mental disorder, according to new figures.
The figures released by NHS Digital show the number has increased significantly over the past three years, from one in nine in 2017 to one in six in July this year.
The rate has risen in boys aged five to 16 from 11.4% in 2017 to 16.7% in July 2020 and in girls from 10.3% to 15.2%3 over the same time period.
According to the statistics, the likelihood increases with age, with a noticeable difference in gender for the older age group (17 to 22 year olds).
More than a quarter (27.2%) of young women and 13.3% of young men in this age group were identified as having a probable mental disorder in 2020.
The report revealed that among girls aged 11 to 16, nearly two-thirds (63.8%) with a probable mental disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in their household, compared to 46.8% of girls unlikely to have a mental disorder.
Overall, 36.7% of children aged 5 to 16 years had a parent who thought their child was worried that friends and family would catch COVID-19.
More than half (50.2%) of children with a probable mental disorder had their parent report this, compared with a third (33.2%) of children unlikely to have a mental disorder.
Commenting on the report, Martina Kane, policy lead for the Health Foundation’s young people’s future health inquiry, said it presented ‘a worrying picture; of the effect of young people’s everyday circumstances, such as their family’s finances, on their mental health’.
‘The survey found that children with mental health concerns were more than twice as likely to live in a household that had fallen behind with payments,’ said Ms Kane.
‘Young people with existing mental health problems also reported that lockdown had made their life worse. This would have coincided with closures or reduction of key services, including mental health services and youth services.’
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