1 in 10 children have a mental health disorder

A survey published this week suggests that one in ten children in Great Britain aged between 5 and 16 has a clinically recognisable mental disorder.

The research, commissioned by the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive, shows that in 2004:

• 4 per cent of children had an emotional disorder (anxiety or depression)
• 6 per cent had a conduct disorder
• 2 per cent had a hyperkinetic disorder
• 1 per cent had a less common disorder (including autism, tics, eating disorders and selective mutism)
• 2 per cent of children had more than one type of disorder.

The survey shows that boys were more likely than girls to have a mental disorder. Among 5-10 year olds, 10 per cent of boys and 5 per cent of girls had a mental disorder. Among 11-16 year olds, the proportions were 13 per cent for boys and 10 per cent for girls.

Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity, stated: “The figures confirm what we already know: that mental disorders are common in young people as well as in adults.

“It is essential to provide timely treatment to these young people with mental disorders – to catch their illness early and give them the best prospects for mental health as an adult. We should ensure that children have ready access to mental health services, and that those services are sensitive to their particular needs.”

To download the full report, go to: www.statistics.gov.uk