Missed opportunities: a review of recent evidence into children and young people's mental health

Source:
SCIE Social Care Online
Publisher:
Centre for Mental Health
Publication date:
01 January 2016

Abstract

Drawing on recent evidence, this review provides an overview of mental health and wellbeing in children and young people aged 0-25 in the UK and looks at the factors that influence their mental health at different stages of their lives. It draws on a systematic search of literature published between 1990 and 2015, including some publications from 2016, and additional internet and website searches. The report presents findings on access to services and the barriers to seeking support that mean families, children and young people do not get the support that they need. It then breaks down findings into four age groups: pregnancy to age 4; children aged 5-10, 11-15 year olds, and young adults aged 16-25. For each age group the report focuses on what is known about trends over time, risk factors for poor mental health, the most vulnerable groups, and what works. It finds that mental health problems are common among young people, affecting one in ten young people. However, awareness is poor and most attempts by parents to get help are unsuccessful. Children and young people with mental health difficulties go ten years between first becoming unwell and getting any help. The report finds that most common childhood mental health problems can be treated effectively, if early and effective help is provided. The evidence illustrates the importance of raising awareness and mental health literacy among families, schools and young people and the importance of making effective help more accessible and responsive. Priorities for future research are also identified.