Recent data published by the Office for National Statistics has shown that mental health problems in children can affect their overall well-being in both the immediate and longer-term. The Children’s Well-being 2015 publication includes a new measure of children’s mental ill-health.
This article was originally published in the November 2015 Edition of our UKEdMagazine
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The report found:
- there were 1 in 8 children aged 10 to 15 who reported symptoms of mental ill-health in 2011 to 2012, as measured by a high or very high total difficulties score
- being bullied was strongly related to mental ill-health; children who were bullied frequently were 4 times more likely to report a high or very high score
- children who quarrelled with their mother more than once a week were 3 times more likely to report a high or very high score than children who quarrelled less frequently
- One third of children who were relatively unhappy with their appearance reported high or very high total difficulties score, compared with 1 in 12 children who were relatively happy with their appearance
- children who spent over 3 hours on social websites on a normal school night were more than twice as likely to report a high or very high score as children spending less time on social websites
Boys were more likely to have a problem than girls and prevalence increased with age. Girls were more likely to have emotional problems whereas boys were more likely to report conduct or hyperactivity problems. The study also found that children with mental disorders were more likely than children without mental disorders to have time off school, especially unauthorised absences, and were less likely to have a network of family and friends with whom they felt close.
The Department of Health and NHS England have also published ‘Future in mind’ bit.ly/uked15nov17, detailing the work of the children and young people’s mental health and well-being taskforce, which was set up to identify ways of improving mental health services and access to these services for children and young people.
The survey measured children’s strengths and difficulties in a number of areas: emotional symptoms, Conduct problems, hyperactivity or inattention, peer relationship problems, pro-social behaviour. The findings revealed the main areas of mental health causing issues identified by children, including:
- happiness with appearance
- quarrel with mother/father
- talk to mother/father about things that are important
- bullied at school (physically, in other ways or both)
- time spent on social websites
- feel safe walking in your neighbourhood after dark
- like your neighbourhood
- happiness with school
- want to go on to full-time education
The report concluded that of the well-being measures available from the Understanding Society survey, bullying and quarrelling with mothers had the strongest associations with mental ill-health.