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12% of young people are mentally ill, says survey

ONE in eight people between the ages of five and 19 had a mental disorder last year, according to a report.

And that number rose to one in six among those aged 17 to 19, a survey of 9,000 young people in England showed.

Around one in ten children between 11 and 16 years old had a disorder and a similar proportion (9.9 per cent) of those aged five to ten also had one.

YMCA England & Wales chief executive Denise Hatton described the NHS Digital figures as a ‘wake-up call’.

She said: ‘Without prevention and with the NHS struggling to cope, too many young people are still left alone to deal with their mental health difficulties, leading to a vicious circle of solitude and suffering.’

Even pre-schoolers are affected as five per cent of children aged two to four had a mental disorder.

The prevalence of these illnesses in children between five and 15 years old has risen from 9.7 per cent in 1999 and 10.1 per cent in 2004 to 11.2 per cent in 2017. This year’s survey covered 16- to 19-year-olds for the first time.

Females in the highest age bracket were more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder than males, according to the survey.

Teenagers aged 14 to 19, who did not identify as heterosexual, were more than twice as likely to have a mental illness than those who did.

A quarter of 11- to 16-year-olds with a disorder had self-harmed or attempted suicide, while nearly half of 17- to 19-year-old sufferers had done the same.