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Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021 - wave 2 follow up to the 2017 survey

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Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021 - wave 2 follow up to the 2017 survey


Summary

This is the second (wave 2) 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 February/March 2021, during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and changes since 2017. Experiences of family life, education, and services during the COVID-19 pandemic are also examined.

The sample for the Mental Health Survey for Children and Young People, 2021 (MHCYP 2021), wave 2 follow up was based on 3,667 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 three primary aims:

Aim 1: Comparing mental health between 2017 and 2021 – 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 - Topic 2 examines the circumstances and experiences of children and young people in February/March 2021 and the preceding months, covering:

  • COVID-19 infection and symptoms.
  • Feelings about social media use.
  • Family connectedness.
  • Family functioning.
  • Education, including missed days of schooling, access to resources, and support for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
  • Changes in circumstances.
  • How lockdown and restrictions have affected children and young people’s lives.
  • Seeking help for mental health concerns.

Aim 3: Present more detailed data on the mental health, circumstances and experiences of children and young people by ethnic group during the coronavirus pandemic (where sample sizes allow).

The data is broken down by gender and age bands of 6 to 10 year olds and 11 to 16 year olds for all categories, and 17 to 22 years old for certain categories where a time series is available, 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.


Key Facts

Latest data is for February/March 2021.

Rates of probable mental disorders have increased since 2017; in 6 to 16 year olds from one one in nine (11.6%) to one in six (17.4%), and in 17 to 19 year olds from one in ten (10.1%) to one in six (17.4%). Rates in both age groups remained similar between 2020 and 2021.

39.2% of 6 to 16 year olds had experienced deterioration in mental health since 2017, and 21.8% experienced improvement. Among 17 to 23 year olds, 52.5% experienced deterioration, and 15.2% experienced improvement.

The proportion of children and young people with possible eating problems increased since 2017; from 6.7% to 13.0% in 11 to 16 year olds, and from 44.6% to 58.2% in 17 to 19 year olds.

Problems with sleep on three or more nights of the previous seven affected over a quarter (28.7%) of 6 to 10 year olds, over a third (38.4%) of 11 to 16 year olds, and over half (57.1%) of 17 to 23 year olds. Across all age groups figures were much higher in those with a probable mental disorder (59.5%, 74.2%, 86.7% respectively).

10.6% of 6 to 16 year olds missed more than 15 days of school during the 2020 Autumn term. Children with a probable mental disorder were twice as likely to have missed this much school (18.2%) as those unlikely to have a mental disorder (8.8%).

The proportion of 6 to 16 year olds with a laptop or tablet they could work on at home increased from 89.0% in 2020 to 94.4% in 2021. The proportion receiving regular support from school or college also increased, from 73.7% in 2020 to 79.9% in 2021.




Last edited: 1 October 2021 12:44 pm


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