Mental disorders hit one in ten

One in 10 children has a clinically recognised mental disorder ranging from depression to autism.

A detailed 2004 survey of almost 8,000 children, their parents and their teachers reveals that 4% of children have an emotional disorder such as anxiety or depression, 6% have a conduct disorder, 2% have a hyperkinetic disorder such as severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and 1% have a form of autism.

The picture is similar to that painted by the first national survey of children’s mental health in 1999.

The latest survey also reveals that more than one in five of children aged 11-16 with a mental disorder have attempted to harm or kill themselves. This figure rises to 28% for older children with an emotional disorder.

Smoking, drug use and drinking alcohol is also more common among many of these children than their peers. A fifth of young people aged 11-16 with an emotional disorder had taken drugs compared with 8% of other young people. 

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