National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People 2023
This is a unique follow-up study looking at the health and wellbeing of children and young people in England in 2023. There have been a number of national studies of children and young people’s health and wellbeing. The last face-to-face one was carried out in 2017 and involved over 9,000 children and young people. In 2020, 2021 and 2022 we conducted a follow-up study and we are now conducting another.
Why is this study important?
The information collected from these studies has been used to:
- Build a picture of the health and wellbeing of children and young people in England
- Provide England’s best information source of how children and young people’s health and wellbeing is changing over time
Who is carrying out the study?
The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is carrying out the study alongside the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the University of Cambridge and the University of Exeter. We are conducting the study on behalf of NHS England, with funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Education (DfE).
NHS England is a Public Body and leads the NHS in England to deliver high quality services for all. Part of NHS England’s role is to collect data about health and health care services and support NHS organisations to work in partnership to deliver better outcomes for our patients and communities.
NHS Digital, who previously commissioned the study, have merged with NHS England on 1st February 2023. Read more about the merger here.
Why should I take part?
Your answers will provide vital information about the health and wellbeing of children and young people and what has changed since they last took part in the study.
By taking part you will help the NHS, policy makers and charities make the right decisions about important issues that affect the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The results from the studies have already provided valuable data that have informed researchers about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people. We are now conducting this follow-up study to further our understanding of the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in England.
Do I have to take part?
Taking part is entirely voluntary and if you do decide to take part, you can choose to answer as many or as few questions as you like. You can also change your mind at any time and withdraw from the study.
We rely on the voluntary cooperation and goodwill of those who are selected to make the study a success.
What is involved?
This follow-up study involves a short questionnaire. You will receive a letter in the post with instructions on how to access the questionnaire online.
You can access the online questionnaire using this link: survey.natcen.ac.uk/NSHW
The letter will include your unique code to access the questionnaire.
If you can’t complete online, then one of our interviewers may call you to see if you would like to take part over the phone.
Before taking part, please read the information leaflet that you received in the post. This contains all the information about the study. If you are a parent or young person aged between 17 and 25 and did not receive the information leaflet, you can read it here (pdf).
What will you ask me questions about?
If you are a parent or carer the questionnaire asks a range of things about your child. These include general health and wellbeing, how they feel about school and whether they have self-harmed. There are also questions about your current circumstances and life experiences during the past year, as we know that parents and carers play such an important part in a child’s life. Ideally, we would like the adult who took part in 2017, or the adult who took part in the previous follow-up studies, to take part again, although this is not essential.
If your child is aged between 11 and 16 at the 31st August 2023, after you have finished your questionnaire, we would like your child to also answer an online questionnaire. The questionnaire for children asks about their health and wellbeing, as well as their contact with family and friends, feelings about their body and eating, whether they think their family can afford certain things, and their experiences and thoughts during the past year. We have created an information leaflet, similar to this one, that can be given to your child so that they can understand what is involved. If your child is 16 years old at the 31st August 2023, at the start of the survey you will be asked to confirm that you have discussed taking part in the survey with them and that they are happy for you to take part.
If you are a young person aged between 17 and 25, the online questionnaire asks about your health and wellbeing, feelings about your body and eating, whether you have self-harmed, as well as your current circumstances and your experiences and thoughts during the past year.
For parents, carers and young people aged between 17 and 25, the questionnaire will take around 20 minutes to complete. If you are aged between 11 and 16 the questionnaire will take around 10 minutes to complete.
Will I receive a voucher for taking part?
Each household will receive a £10 shopping voucher that can be used in a range of high street and online shops, to say thank you for completing the study. You can request to receive this either in the post or by email.
An additional £10 shopping voucher will be given to each household who completes the second stage of the study.
Why have I been selected?
You have been selected because your household took part in the National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People 2017, and possibly the follow-up studies in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and someone in your household said that you would be happy to be re-contacted about any future studies.
Do I have to complete the online questionnaire in one go?
It should only take 20 minutes to complete for parents/carers and young people and 10 minutes for children, but if you are interrupted and need to exit the questionnaire then you will be able to return to where you left off. The questionnaire will be saved automatically, so you can close your internet browser and return to complete it at a more convenient time. To regain access to the questionnaire, just go to the link that is in your letter and you will return to where you left off.
The online questionnaire timed out
To protect the confidentiality of your answers, the questionnaire is closed down if it is left for a period of time. Your answers will have been saved so you can log back in by going to the link that is in your letter.
If you are completing the questionnaire on the phone and need to leave before it is finished, the interviewer can arrange to phone you back at a more suitable time. The interviewer will pick up where you left off and you will be able to finish the rest of the questionnaire.
I have completed my questionnaire, but you sent me a letter to remind me to do this
Thank you for taking part! It might be that you completed the questionnaire after we had checked our records. We apologise, but we will have safely received your answers.
Is the study confidential?
Yes. Any information given will be treated in confidence and we will handle your data in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. Any statistics or results produced will not identify you or anyone in your household.
Sharing data with our service providers
We sometimes share selected information with our service providers to help us run our surveys. We only share the personal details they need to know. This includes organisations such as the one which print the letters we will send you and the one which will handle any email communication between us.
Linking survey answers to other information?
We will ask for your consent to link your study answers to data held by NHS England, the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Education. You can cancel this permission at any time. This would let us add information from health and education records to look at how a person’s lifestyle and experiences can have an impact on their future health and education.
In the questionnaire, you may be asked whether you are happy to complete the second stage of the study. The second stage of the study includes questions about your child’s, or if you are aged between 17 and 25 your, eating behaviours and any concerns you may have. If you have a child aged between 11 and 16 they may also be asked to complete the second stage of the study, if we have your permission. Your responses to the second stage will be added together with your responses to the first questionnaire. Taking part in the second stage is voluntary and you will be free to refuse if you do not want to take part.
In the future, NatCen, ONS or NHS England may want to contact you about follow-up research on mental health and wellbeing. We will only invite you to take part in follow-up research if you give consent for this. We will not pass on any of your details without your permission. If you are invited to take part in any future studies, you will be free to refuse if you do not want to take part.
How will the results be used?
Data collected will be held by NatCen Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and NHS England. The answers you give will be put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England, analysed anonymously and published in a report that will be freely available.
An anonymised report on the findings from the follow-up study last year was published in November 2022. Read about the findings here.
The data we collect as part of the study is also useful to other people. A copy of the study dataset which does not include information which could directly identify you is made - your name, date of birth, address and contact details will be removed from it. Researchers and analysts can apply to use the data for research and statistical purposes and applicants will need to meet strict data governance standards.
Who has reviewed the study?
The study has been looked at by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee. This study has been reviewed and approved by the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee. Further information about this committee can be found here.
Support and information
If you have been invited to take part in the National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People 2023, taking part in this is entirely voluntary. Your participation will help us understand the health and wellbeing of children and young people in England currently. Some of these questions may be upsetting, for example questions on changes and social connections.
The following organisations can also offer information and support:
You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Every Mind Matters
Every Mind Matters provides simple and practical advice to get a healthier mind and get more out of life – from how to deal with stress and anxiety, to boosting our mood or sleeping better. It has been created by Public Health England and will help you spot the signs of common mental health conditions, get personalised practical self-care tips and information on further support. You’ll also learn about what you can do to help others.
Supports people who have or are worried they have an eating disorder, as well as others affected, such as friends and family members.
Tel: 0808 801 0677
Offers free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday.
Tel: 0800 1111
Offer financial advice and information, as well as help with other issues like housing, health and work.
Provides help and support for dealing with bereavement.
Tel: 0808 808 1677
Offers advice and support to service users; has a network of local associations in England and Wales to which people can turn for help and assistance.
Tel: 0300 123 3393
Provides a confidential service for people in despair and who feel suicidal.
Tel: 116 123
Provides helplines and information on child abuse, child protection and safeguarding children.
Tel: 0808 800 5000
Young Minds has a Parent Helpline that offers free confidential telephone and email support to any adult worried about the wellbeing of a child or young person.
Shout Crisis Textline
If you need immediate support, you can text SHOUT to 85258 and chat by text. The service is free on most networks and available 24/7, and trained volunteers will listen to you, and work with you to help you take the next steps towards feeling better.
The Trussell Trust
Supports food banks across the UK and can provide emergency food and support to those who need it.
Mental Health Foundation
This website offers a wide range of information about mental health issues.
Offers help and support to anyone who is worried about their – or someone else's – gambling.
Tel: 0808 8020 133
We take great care to protect the confidentiality of the information people give us.
Thank you for participating in the National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People.
If you took part in one of our previous studies from 2017, 2020, 2021 or 2022, below is some further information and links to the anonymised reports where you can read more about the findings from the studies.
What you told us will help inform and improve local and national health and support services and we are very grateful for your participation.
The previous studies asked about a range of topics to do with development and wellbeing, as well as thoughts, feelings and experiences during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By asking about these topics we want to improve understanding of how different experiences can impact on health and wellbeing.
For each wave of the study we worked with the Office for National Statistics, and were commissioned to do so by NHS Digital (now NHS England), with funding from the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in 2021 and the Department for Education in 2022.
You can find the anonymised reports from each wave of the study at https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england.
To get in touch you can:
Call our Freephone on 0800 652 4568
Email us at NSHW@natcen.ac.uk
For more information about your data and your rights, you can contact the NatCen Data Protection Officer. Data Protection Officers are responsible for upholding your rights and making sure we process your information correctly.