Mental disorders more common in boys
Prevalence of psychiatric disorders by sex and age, 1999
In 1999, the rates of mental disorder in Great Britain varied by sex and age. Overall, boys were more likely to have a mental disorder than girls, and this was evident in both the 5 to 10 year age group (10 per cent of boys compared with six per cent of girls) and the 11 to 15 year age group (13 per cent of boys compared with 10 per cent of girls). More specifically, the prevalence of conduct and hyperkinetic disorders were greater among boys than girls.
The prevalence of emotional disorders – anxiety and depression was similar in boys and girls of school age. With the exception of hyperkinetic disorders, rates for the other main disorder categories increased from childhood to adolescence.
Prevalence of mental disorders by smoking, drinking and cannabis use among children aged 11-15 years, 1999
There was found to be a strong link between mental disorder and rates of smoking, drinking and cannabis use among children aged 11- to 15-year-olds in Great Britain. Over 40 per cent of this age group who smoked regularly were assessed to have a mental disorder (28 per cent had a conduct disorder, 20 per cent an emotional disorder and four per cent a hyperkinetic disorder).
Children in families of Social Class V (14 per cent) were more likely to have a mental disorder than those in Social Class I families (five per cent). The highest rate was found among children in the small group of families where no parent had ever worked (21 per cent).
Suicide, although not classified as a mental disorder, has strong associations with mental health. In England and Wales, among 15- to 19-year-olds, suicide rates were much higher for males than females. Throughout the 1990s the incidence rates of suicide remained relatively constant, but in 2000, the suicide rates increased steeply to eight per 100,000 males and three per 100,000 females, but these rates decreased slightly in 2001.
Many risk factors for youth crime are shared with risks for psychiatric disorders. Looked after children, young people who are homeless and young offenders are among the groups most at risk for psychiatric disorder.
Sources: Meltzer H, Gatwood R, Goodman R and Ford T (2000) Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain, TSO: London Mortality Statistics, Office for National Statistics Meltzer H, Gatward R, Corbin T, Goodman R and Ford T (2003) The Mental Health of Young People Looked After by Local Authorities in England, TSO: London Craig T K J and Hodson S (1998) Homeless youth in London: I. Childhood antecedents and psychiatric disorder, Psychological Medicine 28, 1379-1388 Lader D, Singleton N and Meltzer H (2000) Psychiatric morbidity among young offenders in England and Wales, Office for National Statistics: London
Social Class V represents unskilled occupations of head of household.
Social Class I represents professional occupations of head of household.