The number of children in England who may suffer from a mental condition has surged just in the last three years, up from one in nine in 2017 to one in six in 2020, a new survey finds.
As published by the University of Exeter, and other British institutions, the prevalence of male children aged five to 16 with a probable mental condition has increased by nearly five percent from 2017 to 2020, while in female children, the rate was nearly identical in the same time span.
“This report looks at the mental health of children and young people in England in July 2020, and how this has changed since 2017. Experiences of family life, education and services, and worries and anxieties during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are also examined,” researchers stated in a news release.
“The findings draw on a sample of 3,570 children and young people aged between five to 22 years old in 2020, who were surveyed in both 2017 and July 2020,” they also stated.
The new findings are concerning particularly for researchers, given that there is no certainty if the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for the surge in probable cases of mental disorders in children.
“The survey can’t tell us whether and to what extent this increase is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does contains evidence of its impact, with many children and young people saying the lockdown had made their lives worse,” according to Tamsin Newlove-Delgado, co-author of the study.
“As we are facing a winter of varying levels of restrictions and disruption to children and young peoples’ lives, we need to understand more about their experiences, and to use these findings to reach and support those who need it most, and to prevent longer-term problems.”