JSNA topic report: children and young people

10. Mental health and wellbeing

Positive mental health and wellbeing is important for children and young people and their social and emotional development and better lifelong health. Nationally mental health and wellbeing has reduced for children and young people over the COVID-19 pandemic with the proportion of 6 to 16 year olds with a probable mental disorder increasing from 11.6% in 2017 to 17.4% in 2021.

Nationally numbers being referred and waiting times for eating disorders have increased, a picture that is replicated within Buckinghamshire.

The OxWell Buckinghamshire health and wellbeing Survey 2021 offers an insight into mental health and wellbeing in children who were surveyed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This found that:

  • one fifth of primary age children, one third of secondary age children and greater than a half of sixth forms students who responded to the survey reported low wellbeing
  • self-harm was relatively commonly reported amongst secondary and school age children, with 23.9% reporting having previously deliberately self-harmed and 20.5% reported having taken an overdose. One in ten children needed medical treatment and 9 out of 10 stated they never or rarely told anyone
  • bullying was also relatively common with 10.4% of primary school aged children and 6.8% of secondary and school age children reporting having been bullied in the last week