We are supposed to be a First World Country, whatever that means, with all its offensive undertones, and yet our children continue to suffer the consequences. The UK is still woefully poor when it comes to meeting child welfare standards across the board (think UN targets and embarrassing results in the tackling of child poverty) and it seems that our children’s mental health is now taking a whack.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that 80,000 children in the UK are now suffering with depression, and that children as young as five are suffering with the condition.
- 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class (1).
- Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2)
- There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68% (3).
- More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time (4).
- Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression (5).
- Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression (6).
- 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems – these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society (7).
- 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder (8).
- The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s (9).
- The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999 (10).
(Their website offers a more detailed breakdown of the stats, unfortunate pun not intended).
But the 80,000 figure stat is nothing new – check Young Minds’ source for their figure of the same and you can see it comes from a 2005 report entitled Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. So what gives?
If we are going to assume that depression in children on this scale has been known to our government since 2005, that’s eight years, it really begs the question, why on Earth is this not being addressed immediately?