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2.2 Prevalence

Data is available at UK level on the emotional wellbeing or children and the latest release of this dataset is due 20 October 2015. Nationally, it is estimated that about 10% of all children in Great Britain suffer from a mental disorder[17], with boys having a higher prevalence compared to girls, 11.6% vs. 7.5%. Older children (11-15 years old) have a higher prevalence compared to the younger groups (5-10 years old).

There are 80,860 children and young people under 24 in South Gloucestershire. Based on the national prevalence, there are about 4,800 children in South Gloucestershire, aged 5-19 who have a mental health disorder. According to the same survey, the following estimates for mental health disorders were observed

  • 1776 children with emotional disorders (3.7%)
  • 2784 children with conduct disorders (5.8%)
  • 720 children with hyperkinetic disorders (1.5%)
  • 624 children with less common disorders (1.3%) out of which 432 are for autism (0.9%)

In the 0-18 population it is predicted South Gloucestershire will experience a 9.4% increase by 2037.

In order to ascertain accurate timely data for South Gloucestershire a survey of school children was administered during 2015. The following analysis was performed using data from the survey with analysis on responses from secondary schools and post 16 groups. For the purpose of this analysis, regularly was defined as doing the activity at least once a month[18].

For Year 8 to Year 10 cumulatively, 17.3% of pupils reported being drunk regularly, while for Year 12 only the percentage more than tripled, with 62.9% of the pupils reporting being drunk on a regular basis. Girls were more likely to drink compared to boys, with 67% vs 60% reporting being drunk in Year 12. Out of those who responded that they drink alcohol regularly, girls were more likely to report being drunk than boys, with 78% compared to 71.3%.

An average of 6.3 % of the secondary school pupils have reported having tried illegal drugs, Year 12 reporting 16.3%.

While nearly 43.7% of secondary school pupils feel stressed about school work, more girls reported feeling this way compared to boys, 47.9% vs 39.4%.  Year 12 reported higher percentages of pupils feeling stressed about schoolwork, reaching 60.7%.

Overall, 12.7 % of secondary school pupils considered themselves to often be in trouble at school. Younger pupils (Year 8 and Year 10) were more likely to report being in trouble than older ones (Year 12), 12% vs. 4%. Girls were less likely to be in trouble when compared to boys, 9.4% vs 15.7%.

Overall nearly 8.6% of secondary school children reported being or having someone in their immediate family who experienced domestic abuse. Girls were twice as likely to report this compared to boys (11.2 % vs 6.5%) when Year 8 through Year 12 responses were used.

Year 8 through Year 12 had a 16% overall prevalence of self-harm, with year 10 experiencing the highest prevalence of 18%. Girls were more likely to self-harm compared to boys, 23.6% vs 9.3%. Prevalence was also higher in the pupils eligible for free school meals than those who were not. The difference (22.4% vs 15.5%) could be attributed to the small numbers of pupils eligible for the free school meals which was 8.8%.

Bullying frequency also seems to be linked to self-harm prevalence. Those who reported no bullying have the lowest self-harm prevalence (11.2%) compared to those who experience bullying on a regular basis which present a prevalence of 35%-47%, respectively.

It is noteworthy that 48.5% of those who felt they should join a gang and joined reported self-harming. Of those who reported self-harming, 28% do it quite often or most days.

The numbers of pupils who felt they should join a gang are considerably smaller than those who did not feel so and the observed results could be due to this (8%). The same rationale applies for bullying, especially in the quite often and most days groups.

Older groups experienced a higher prevalence of medical treatment for injuries due to self-harm, though the numbers are small and the pattern might be attributed to this. Year 8 and Year 10 pupils present higher prevalence of still self-harming compared to Year 12.

Serious bullying seems to decrease as pupils get older, ranging from 16.8% in Year 8 to 13% in Year 12. Girls seemed to be more likely to experience serious bullying compared to boys, 15.3% vs 10.9%. The opposite pattern is observed when it comes to inability to sleep due to worrying, older pupils experiencing the highest prevalence (Year 8, Year 10 and Year 12 experiencing 29.7%, 34.6% and 43.1% respectively.


[17] Green et al, 2004

[18] Percentages do not simply match the numerator/denominator formula due to the nature of the survey.  There were questions that had various follow-up questions for which a negative answer in the first question would lead to no further questions. In the case of someone denying the second question (first affirmative, quantifying second question by using zero or never) the pupils still answered all subsequent questions. For instance, when asked if they self-harm, when prompted how often they do it, only those who answered yes at the first question were asked the second one.