Best start in life: Promoting good emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people

LGA. Published online July 2016

Best start in life Promoting good emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people

Image source: LGA

Summary of the key messages: Mental health and wellbeing in childhood – why it matters

Pregnancy and early years: critical to a child’s long-term development. Early interactions directly affect the way the brain develops and so the relationship between baby and parents is vital.

Five to 10: once a child has fallen behind in the early years they are more likely to fall further behind than catch up.

11 to 25: those with mental health and conduct disorders are twice as likely to leave school without qualifications.

Key stats

  • One in four babies live in households affected by domestic violence, mental illness or drug and alcohol problems.
  • One in five mothers suffer from depression, anxiety or in some cases psychosis during pregnancy or the first year after birth. Teenage mothers are three times more likely to suffer from post-natal depression.
  • The cost to the economy is estimated at £8.1 billion for each annual birth cohort – that’s almost £10,000 per baby. Nearly three quarters of that is linked to the impact on the child.
  • Three quarters of mental health problems develop before the ages of 18.

Read the full report here

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