The latest NHS mental health prevalence data suggests that one in six (17.4%) young people aged 6 to 16 years old have a probable mental health disorder, up from one in nine (11.6%) in 2017. The same study put rates of probable mental disorder at one in six (17.4%) among 17 to 19 year olds, and one in five (19.1%) for young people aged 20 to 22.
These figures are only the tip of the iceberg and do not yet factor the young people’s lives that have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic and the tsunami of mental health struggles anticipated as a result. At the time of writing, NHS figures show that “open referrals” – children and young people with mental health concerns in England undergoing treatment or waiting to start care – almost reached half a million at 445,119, in March 2022, the highest number since records began in 2016.
In March 2021, YoungMinds commissioned Beano Brain to deliver a long-term representative study of 11–25-year-olds in order to gain an in-depth understanding with respect to their mental health needs and experiences. The study provides data on the needs young people have, as well as the level and success of support they have, whether from family, education or professionals. It also aims to track the impact of YoungMinds’ new youth focused strategy and progress towards its mission to prevent young people’s mental health needs escalating, and to ensure that mental health support is available to those that need it.
Preliminary data from the tracker suggests that across 2021-22, significant numbers of young people have been struggling to cope with their mental health and continue to do so. Whilst there has been a steady increase in the negative emotions, young people’s sense of support is going up which remains vitally important to the charity mission statement. As expected, Covid-19 has been the dominant negative influence across the year.
We are starting to see the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic recede, but we are also seeing other concerns arise. As the UK enters a period of returning to face to face education and work, with steeply rising living costs, and the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, it remains vitally important to understand young people’s mental health, access to services and support and the impact these are making.
For us at Beano Brain it has been equally fascinating and sobering in past year to see how both global and local events have uniquely, affected young people. The impact of the pandemic on young people’s ability to socialise, create and maintain friendships –- so crucial at this time in their lives - has been a recurring theme, even now things are much more “back to normal”.
We noticed early in 2022 how concerns around money were starting to have a negative influence on young people’s mental health and underlines how important boosting support, at the right time and in the right places for them, is as just as important as it was in the days of lockdown.
If you would like to know more about our work with YoungMinds or discuss how our insight tools could inform your business, please get in touch and use our brain. We’re here to help.