Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017
This survey series provides England’s best source of data on trends in child mental health.
Major surveys of the mental health of children and young people in England were carried out in 1999, 2004, and 2017. While many surveys use brief tools to screen for nonspecific psychiatric distress or dissatisfaction, this series applied rigorous, detailed and consistent methods to assess for a range of different types of disorder according to International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) diagnostic criteria. All cases were reviewed by clinically-trained raters.
Comparable data is available for 5 to 15 year olds living in England in 1999, 2004, and 2017. The 2017 survey for the first time provides findings on the prevalence of mental disorder in 2 to 4 year olds, and spans the transition into adulthood by covering 17 to 19 year olds.
The latest survey was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, commissioned by NHS Digital, and carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and Youthinmind.
- One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017
- Specific mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders. Emotional disorders were the most prevalent type of disorder experienced by 5 to 19 year olds in 2017 (8.1%)
- Rates of mental disorders increased with age. 5.5% of 2 to 4 year old children experienced a mental disorder, compared to 16.9% of 17 to 19 year olds. Caution is needed, however, when comparing rates between age groups due to differences in data collection. For example, teacher reports were available only for 5 to 16 year olds. Please refer to the Survey Design and Methods Report for full details
- Data from this survey series reveal a slight increase over time in the prevalence of mental disorder in 5 to 15 year olds (the age-group covered on all surveys in this series). Rising from 9.7% in 1999 and 10.1% in 2004, to 11.2% in 2017
- Emotional disorders have become more common in five to 15 year-olds – going from 4.3% in 1999 and 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017. All other types of disorder, such as behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders, have remained similar in prevalence for this age group since 1999