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​​​​​​​Mental health statistics annual report includes information on children for first time

30 November 2017

NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures

Regional data available in this report

A breakdown of statistics on young people who have been referred for treatment or assessment1 with mental health services in England has been published today by NHS Digital2.

This is summarised in counts of people who had an open referral at some point in 2016/17 regardless of whether they accessed services in the period.

16-17-year-old females were most likely to have had an open referral with mental health and learning disabilities services out of all young people3, according to figures in the Mental Health Bulletin 2016-17.

11 per cent (69,000) of 16-17-year-old females in England are known to have had an open referral with NHS funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2016/174. Two per cent (1,300) of this group were admitted to hospital as part of their referral.  

During the same period, eight per cent of 16-17-year-old males (52,000) in England are known to have had an open referral with these services.  

Users of these statistics should bear in mind that the numbers presented in this year's bulletin do not include information from all providers of services5.

In total, more than 2.6 million people are known have had an open referral with mental health services at some point during the year. 560,000 of these were under 18 years of age.

This means that five per cent of people in England are known to have had an open referral with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services during 2016/17.

Females aged 90 or over were most likely to have had an open referral with these services as a proportion of their overall population (19,000 per 100,000, or around 1 in 5 of their respective population). This will include people referred to these services because of mental health disorders such as dementia6.

Read the full report

Mental Health Bulletin 2016/17


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Notes to editors

  1. A person is considered to be referred for treatment or assessment if they have had an open referral with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services during 2016-17. This is described as being 'in contact with services' in the full report. As well as covering people who underwent treatment, this may include referrals which did not result in an attendance with a service or treatment being received. People known to be in contact with NHS funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services are those who have had information about their care submitted to the Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) by their service provider.
  2. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend.  During the 2016/17 financial year, NHS Digital published 292 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
  3. This report is based on submissions made using version 1.1 of the Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS). The MHSDS was introduced on January 1 2016 and superseded the following standards: Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Dataset (MHLDDS), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Dataset, Mental Health Care Cluster and Mental Health Clustering Tool.
  4. People known to be in contact with NHS funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services are those who have had information about their care submitted to the Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) by their service provider.
  5. Some providers of services in scope for this collection did not provide one or more submissions during this financial year. Details of how the information presented in this report can be interpreted considering these issues can be in the full report. It is likely that the level of coverage of mental health services for children and young people in the source of these statistics is good but lower than that for adult mental health or learning disabilities and autism services. These statistics may undercount people aged under 18 in comparison to people aged 18 or over, as such comparisons between these two groups may under-estimate the younger group.
  6. More information about dementia can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia-guide/pages/about-dementia.aspx
  7. The numbers included here are shown to the two significant figures. Percentages are shown to the nearest whole number. Exact figures are available in the full report.

Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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