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Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey

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Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey


Summary

This is the first in a series of follow up reports to the Mental Health and Young People Survey (MHCYP) 2017, exploring the mental health of children and young people in July 2020, during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and changes since 2017. Experiences of family life, education and services, and worries and anxieties during the COVID-19 pandemic are also examined.

The sample for the Mental Health Survey for Children and Young People, 2020 (MHCYP 2020), wave 1 follow up was based on 3,570 children and young people who took part in the MHCYP 2017 survey, with both surveys also drawing on information collected from parents. Cross-sectional analyses are presented, addressing two primary aims:

Aim 1: Comparing mental health between 2017 and 2020 – the likelihood of a mental disorder has been assessed against completion of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in both years in Topic 1 by various demographics.

Aim 2: Describing life during the COVID-19 pandemic - the report examines the circumstances and experiences of children and young people in July 2020 and the preceding months, covering:

  • Family dynamics (Topic 2)
  • Parent and child anxieties about COVID-19, and well-being (Topic 3)
  • Access to education and health services (Topic 4)
  • Changes in circumstances and activities (Topic 5)

The data is broken down by gender and age bands of 5 to 10 year olds and 11 to 16 year olds for all categories, and 17 to 22 years old for certain categories, as well as by whether a child is unlikely to have a mental health disorder, possibly has a mental health disorder and probably has a mental health disorder.

This study was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, commissioned by NHS Digital, and carried out by the Office for National Statistics, the National Centre for Social Research, University of Cambridge and University of Exeter.

Note: On 21 December 2020 the pdf was amended to ensure that Figure 5.6 was displaying the correct figures from the underlying data table.


Data is for England, July 2020.

Rates of probable mental disorders have increased since 2017. In 2020, one in six (16.0%) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine (10.8%) in 2017.  The increase was evident in both boys and girls

The likelihood of a probable mental disorder increased with age with a noticeable difference in gender for the older age group (17 to 22 years); 27.2% of young women and 13.3% of young men were identified as having a probable mental disorder

Among 11 to 16 year old girls, 63.8% with a probable mental disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in the household, compared with 46.8% of those unlikely to have a mental disorder

Among those aged 5 to 22 years, 58.9% with a probable mental disorder reported having sleep problems. Young people aged 17 to 22 years with a probable mental disorder were more likely to report sleep problems (69.6%), than those aged 11 to 16 (50.5%) and 5 to 10 (52.5%)

About six in ten (62.6%) children aged 5 to 16 years with a probable mental disorder had regular support from their school or college, compared with 76.4% of children unlikely to have a mental disorder

Children aged 5 to 16 years with a probable mental disorder were more than twice as likely to live in a household that had fallen behind with payments (16.3%), than children unlikely to have a mental disorder (6.4%)

Children and young people with a probable mental disorder were more likely to say that lockdown had made their life worse (54.1% of 11 to 16 year olds, and 59.0% of 17 to 22 year olds), than those unlikely to have a mental disorder (39.2% and 37.3% respectively)



Last edited: 21 December 2020 3:24 pm


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