Nearly half of all youngsters suffer poor mental health as rate DOUBLES in 15 years, study suggests

Nearly half of all youngsters now suffer poor mental health as rate DOUBLES over 15 years, study suggests

  • Proportion of young people with mental health issues almost doubles in 15 years
  • 44% of Year 11 children in 2021 were found to have ‘probable mental ill health’
  • The UCL and Sutton also found that 11% of schoolgirls had attempted suicide

The proportion of young people experiencing mental health issues has almost doubled in 15 years, a ‘highly disturbing’ study suggests.

Forty-four per cent of young people were found to be above the threshold for ‘probable mental ill health’, indicating high levels of psychological distress.

This figure is up from 23 per cent in a similar 2007 study and points to a decline in mental health and wellbeing, which is likely to have been accelerated by the pandemic, researchers said.

A sample of 13,000 children in England who were in Year 11 in 2021 (aged 15-16) also found differences in the mental health of boys and girls. The latter fared worse, with 11 per cent reporting suicide attempts.

Forty-four per cent of young people were found to be above the threshold for 'probable mental ill health' (file photo)

Forty-four per cent of young people were found to be above the threshold for ‘probable mental ill health’ (file photo)

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl (pictured) described the findings as 'highly disturbing'

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl (pictured) described the findings as ‘highly disturbing’

The study, led by University College London and the Sutton Trust, is the largest of its kind into the impacts of the pandemic on young people.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl described the findings as ‘highly disturbing’.

A separate study has led scientists to suggest that children should be given mindfulness lessons as part of the national curriculum to overcome the self-esteem woes that most suffer after moving to secondary school.

The Cambridge and Manchester University researchers, whose study was published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, found that happiness with friends, school and family dropped substantially between the age of 11 and 14 regardless of background.

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