Mental health among adolescents: Key trends and associations

Date: 3rd November 2015
Category: Mental health

Relationships with friends, playing sport at least once a week and reading books all have a positive effect on mental wellbeing in teenagers, according to a new report.

'Mental Health and Wellbeing among Adolescents in Scotland' looks at trends and key associations for the mental health of boys and girls aged 13 and 15.

The report found that friendships and a positive experience of school are the two things most closely aligned with mental wellbeing. Other factors with a close positive association include expecting to go to university and belonging to a club.
Higher levels of deprivation and poorer physical health both correlate with lower levels of mental wellbeing.

Overall, levels of mental wellbeing have remained largely stable since 2006. Conduct problems, hyperactivity and inattention and social behaviour have improved since 2006. Emotional and peer relationship problems have worsened, which is largely attributable to an increase in the numbers of 15-year-old girls reporting emotional problems.

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said:

  • "Child and Adolescent Mental health is a key priority for the Scottish Government. We have recently announced an additional £100 million of funding for mental health services over the next five years. Some of this will be directed towards further improving child and adolescent mental health services."

Together's 2015 non-government report on children's rights (which was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child) recommends that the Scottish Government:

  • 'Ensure new funding for mental health is sustained and focused on children and particularly directed At those who are most at risk, including children with a disability, looked after children, children living in poverty, LGBTI children and children with additional support needs. Invest sufficient resources in CAMHS to meet the needs of all children requiring support in a timely and effective manner.'

The 'Mental Health and wellbeing among Adolescents in Scotland' report was compiled by Ipsos MORI using data from the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2006-2013.