Poorer children have four times the risk of mental health issues

Children who come from low-income families are four times more likely to experience mental health issues as those from the richest families, according to new research from the UCL Institute of Education, the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Rand Corporation.

The study estimates that 4.3 million people in the UK have been affected by mental health issues during their childhood.

Using information from the National Child Development Study, which observed 17,000 people between 1958 and 2008, and the 1970 British Cohort Study and Millennium Cohort Study, it was discovered that 16% of the poorest children had experienced mental health issues compared to 4% from affluent families.

Despite this, three in five of those poorer children had not received any medical intervention.

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Looking at the financial implications, the study suggests that someone who experiences significant psychological health problems during their childhood will earn a lower income during their lifetime – over £300,000 less.

Not only is it concerning that any child experiencing the trauma of a mental health issue is not receiving treatment, but the economic implications suggest a tendency towards a repetition of low incomes and mental health issues throughout generations of family.

Read more: Poorest children are more likely to have mental health issues