Posted: 03 October 2018

Mental health statistics in the UK

It’s extremely welcome that these days mental health issues are more openly discussed among friends, in communities and in the media. But there is still a lot of misunderstanding and stigma around mental health and the problems it presents. Children’s mental health in particular simply doesn’t receive as much focus as it should. 

These mental health statistics will help you understand more about the scale and type of mental health issues affecting young people today:

8 facts about young people's mental health

1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life.

That’s 16 million people experiencing issues such as depression, addiction, anxiety and PTSD.

At any one time, 1/6th of the population will be experiencing a mental health problem.

This means that right now there are at least 10 million children and adults having issues with their mental health and well-being.

1 in 10 schoolchildren have a diagnosable mental health condition.

If children aged between 5 and 16 don’t get the support they need, their problems will get worse. And it’s vital that they get help with their issues now, because:

75% of all mental health problems are established by the time someone is 18.

By not giving children and young people the support they need at a young age, society is allowing their problems to manifest. With the right support at the right time, these problems can be managed and prevented. This is a serious issue because at the moment:

75% of young people who are experiencing mental health problems aren’t receiving treatment.

This problem is largely caused by a lack of available services. Not only would providing more money for support services benefit young people who are experiencing mental health issues, it would also be a good investment, because currently:

The estimated costs of mental health problems in the UK are over £100 billion each year.

This figure includes both the cost of providing treatment for mental health issues, and the cost to the economy from people missing work due to mental health problems. The economic cost of mental health problems should not be underestimated, because:

Mental health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK.

In terms of causing disability, mental health is a bigger problem than both cancer and cardiovascular disease. Yet treatment for mental health problems is still woefully inadequate.


This animation shows how one young person struggles with mental health:

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