Group of children talking

Photo credit: Children’s Society

THE LATEST NHS digital statistics indicate that one in six children in England are struggling with mental health disorders, and that there is a big increase in the proportion of young people aged 17-19 years being affected by a mental health disorder.

The data also looks at online bullying for the first time, with 1 in 8 children reporting that they have been bullied online.

Amy Dicks, Policy and Impact Manager at the Children’s Society, commented: “These stark figures lay bare the horrifying scale of mental health issues affecting children and young people.

“More than a quarter of 17-19-year-olds are now likely to have a mental health disorder, a truly shocking increase from one in six just a year earlier, and that brings concerns about their life chances as they become adults.

“One in six younger children are struggling with a mental health disorder, as many as during last year’s lockdown, showing that children are in desperate need of long-term support.

“However, the crisis in children’s mental health long pre-dated the pandemic, with a failing system turning children away or making them wait months on end for treatment.

“We want early support hubs in every community so young people can get immediate support when issues arise, and the Government to measure children’s wellbeing so it is easier to identify those who are struggling and provide targeted action and investment preventing mental ill-health.

“It’s also a real worry that one in eight children reported being bullied online and this underlines the importance of the Online Safety Bill progressing quickly through Parliament and offering strong proposals to protect children from dangers like cyber-bullying.”

The Children’s Society’s 2022 Good Childhood Report revealed that one in nine children aged 10-17 said they didn’t cope well with changes due to the pandemic. This may have put them at greater risk of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Sources: Children’s Society; NHS digital data