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Mental health

Some of the most common mental disorders experienced by young people include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, behavioural disorders and eating disorders. Mental health problems have important implications for all aspects of young people’s lives.

Among boys the likelihood of a disorder is highest at age 11-16.  Among girls, it is 17-19

Eating disorders

Among 16-24 year olds, 14% of young men and 28% of young women screen positive for a possible eating disorderThere can be extensive physical and psychiatric consequences of a longterm eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa in particular has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder (Arcelus et al, 2011). The average age for the start of eating disorders is in the mid-teens and understanding these complex and distressing disorders is important when thinking about this age group. However, like self-harm, eating disorders may be underestimated in the general population. Significant proportions will not seek help and good representative community surveys are rare. Estimates of the rates for young people vary, but in the 2019 Health Survey for England, it was estimated that 28% of young women and 14% of young men aged 16-24 had a possible disorder.

On the basis of routine Hospital Episode Statistics, the Health and Social Care Information Centre has reported that young people aged 10 to 19 years account for more than half of hospital admissions for eating disorders (HSCIC, 2014). Looking at the age range 10-24 Chart 6.18 shows that admissions are more common for young women, and for 20-24 year olds than younger ages.

Admissions to hospital for eating disorders are more common young women and at older ages

Rates of admission to hospital for eating disorders for 10-18 year olds rose in 2020, as shown in Chart 6.19.

Rates of admission to hospital for eating disorders for 10-18 year olds rose in 2020

All data correct as of 1st November 2021