Children and young people's mental health in 2022
This report presents findings from the third (wave 3) in a series of follow-up reports to the 2017 Mental Health of Children and Young People (MHCYP) survey, conducted in 2022. The sample includes 2,866 of the children and young people who took part in the MHCYP 2017 survey.
The mental health of children and young people aged 7 to 24 years living in England in 2022 is examined, as well as their household circumstances, and their experiences of education, employment and services and of life in their families and communities.
Comparisons are made with 2017, 2020 (wave 1) and 2021 (wave 2), where possible, to monitor changes over time.
- In 2022, 18.0% of children aged 7 to 16 years and 22.0% of young people aged 17 to 24 years had a probable mental disorder.
- In children aged 7 to 16 years, rates rose from 1 in 9 (12.1%) in 2017 to 1 in 6 (16.7%) in 2020. Rates of probable mental disorder then remained stable between 2020, 2021 and 2022.
- In young people aged 17 to 19 years, rates of a probable mental disorder rose from 1 in 10 (10.1%) in 2017 to 1 in 6 (17.7%) in 2020. Rates were stable between 2020 and 2021, but then increased from 1 in 6 (17.4%) in 2021 to 1 in 4 (25.7%) in 2022.
- 11 to 16 year olds with a probable mental disorder were less likely to feel safe at school (61.2%) than those unlikely to have a mental disorder (89.2%). They were also less likely to report enjoyment of learning or having a friend they could turn to for support.
- 1 in 8 (12.6%) 11 to 16 year old social media users reported that they had been bullied online. This was more than 1 in 4 (29.4%) among those with a probable mental disorder.
- 11 to 16 year old social media users with a probable mental disorder were less likely to report feeling safe online (48.4%) than those unlikely to have a disorder (66.5%).
- 1 in 5 (19.9%) 7 to 16 year olds lived in households that experienced a reduction in household income in the past year. This was more than 1 in 4 (28.6%) among children with a probable mental disorder.
- Among 17 to 22 year olds with a probable mental disorder, 14.8% reported living in a household that had experienced not being able to buy enough food or using a food bank in the past year, compared with 2.1% of young people unlikely to have a mental disorder.
The most recent face-to-face survey in the series took place in 2017 and involved interviews with a random sample of children and young people (aged 2 to 19 years) and their parents. In summer 2020, children (aged 11 to 16 years), young people (then aged 17 to 22 years) and parents (of those then aged 5 to 16 years) who had agreed to future research were invited to take part in an online follow up survey. Those who consented to future research in 2017 (and in 2020 and 2021, if they took part then) were contacted again in spring 2022 and invited to complete the wave 3 online or telephone follow up survey. The 2017 survey and the 2020, 2021 and 2022 follow-ups used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to assess different aspects of mental health, including problems with emotions, behaviour, hyperactivity, concentration and relationships.
Responses from parents, children and young people were used to calculate the likelihood that the child or young person had a probable or possible mental disorder at the time they completed the questionnaire. Analysis in the report looks at the characteristics of children and young people with a “probable mental disorder” compared with those who were either “unlikely to have a mental disorder” or had a “possible mental disorder”.
This survey is part of a series which provides England’s Official Statistics on trends in child mental health. It was commissioned by NHS Digital, with funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. We collaborated with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the University of Cambridge and the University of Exeter.