Action for Children responds to the 'Mental Health and Young People in England' report

Posted by / Thursday 22 November 2018 /

Commissioned by NHS Digital, the research was carried out by NatCen Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and YouthinMind

  • In 2017, 11.2 per cent of 5-15-year olds had a recognised mental health problem. In 2004, it was 10.1 per cent. This represents a 11 per cent increase.
  • In 2017, 5.8 per cent of 5-15-year olds had an emotional mental health problem (anxiety, depression or bipolar). In 2004, it was 3.9 per cent. This represents an increase of 49 per cent.


Action for Children’s director of policy and campaigns, Imran Hussain, said: “Today’s long-awaited figures reveal the true scale of the children’s mental health crisis in this country. Sadly, this stark rise in children and teenagers suffering from a mental disorder makes it clear current government plans are failing to grasp this reality.

Every day our frontline services see children and teenagers struggling to understand how they fit into the world. They have to contend with things like intense pressure at school, bullying, problems at home, all while navigating a complex 24/7 world with constant stimulation from social media. Today’s figures support this with emotional disorders being the most prevalent type of disorder experienced by over 8% of 5 to 15-year-olds.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether for toddlers or teenagers, stepping in to help early with preventative services can often stop problems in their tracks – most importantly, reducing anxiety, pain and anguish but also the need for intensive support further down the line.

“It’s good to see the government commit to offering more early help through schools. They now need to go further and accelerate plans with adequate funding and targeted support, to prevent a generation of children from suffering.”


Media contact: Emma Marshall – 07875 399995 /

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  • Recent Action for Children’s research from its school-based mental health Blues programme showed that one third out of 5,555 15 to 18-year-olds assessed were suffering from mental health and emotional wellbeing issues. The service is the first UK-wide ‘early help’ programme for teenagers which reduces depression by up to 70%.
  • The current government target to help an extra 70,000 children with mental health needs a year by 2020/21 will still leave around two thirds of children and young people with a diagnosed condition without support.