Published on
30 September 2021

A survey published this morning by NHS Digital found one in six children in England had a probable mental disorder in 2021 – an increase from one in nine in 2017.

Barnardo’s Co-CEO (interim) Lynn Perry OBE said:

“This new data confirms that a worrying proportion of children are struggling with mental health, and this problem is not going away. Barnardo’s frontline workers consistently highlight that vulnerable children and young people they support are struggling with their wellbeing, and this has been exacerbated during the pandemic.

“Today’s findings show that children who already struggled with their mental health before Covid have faced particular challenges in recent months, and those in poverty and lacking strong family support are also more at risk. For all these reasons we are calling on the Government to ensure that Mental Health Support Teams are rolled out across all schools in England as a matter of urgency.

“From our direct work with children across the country, we know that they want a mental health system that prioritises early intervention and makes sure they don’t ‘fall through the cracks’, whilst also providing genuine choice in the services they receive – whether that’s help at school, online or in the community. We need a holistic system that works around each child’s needs to promote their wellbeing, with different services working together at a national and local level.”