New research shows a quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14.
Researchers from UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool looked at information on more than 10,000 children born in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study. Based on the 14-year-olds reporting of their emotional problems, they conclude 24 per cent of girls and 9 per cent of boys suffer from depression.
The research, published with the National Children’s Bureau looked into links between depressive symptoms and family income. Generally, 14-year-olds from better-off families were less likely to have high levels of symptoms compared to their peers from poorer homes.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: “This study of thousands of children gives us the most compelling evidence available about the extent of mental ill-health among children in the UK. With a quarter of 14-year-old girls showing signs of depression, it’s now beyond doubt that this problem is reaching crisis point.
“The new research also suggests that signs of depression are generally more common among children from poorer families. We know that mental health doesn’t exist in a vacuum and as the government prepares to publish its plans to improve children’s wellbeing, it must address the overlap with other aspects of disadvantage.”
You can download a PDF briefing on the findings from the NCB Website