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National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People

What is the survey?

The survey aims to find out about the health, development and wellbeing of children and young people aged between 2 and 19 years old in England. It will cover around 9,500 children and young people living in private households in England. The information collected will be used to look at how common different kinds of health, developmental and emotional disorders are. We are interested in factors associated with good health, development and wellbeing as well as the things associated with poor health, development and wellbeing.

The information will be used to inform policy decisions about the need for child and adolescent mental health services and to help with planning services. The survey is funded by the Department of Health.


Why is the survey important?

The survey asks about a range of topics to do with development, health and emotional wellbeing. The information will improve understanding of how different experiences can impact on health and wellbeing.  Over time, and for many different reasons, there can be changes in the health and wellbeing of both young adults and children. The last time this national survey was carried out was in 2004, and the first survey was carried out in 1999.

Having more up to date information will help the NHS, policy makers and charities make decisions about services for children and young people. Statistics about how common different kinds of health, developmental and emotional disorders are, and about factors associated with poor health and wellbeing, can help them improve and plan local and national health and support services that children, young people and their parents use.


Who is doing the survey?

The survey is being carried out by NatCen Social Research and the Office for National Statistics on behalf of NHS Digital. Further information is available in the following links:

NatCen - National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People

Office for National Statistics: National Study of Health and Wellbeing: Children and Young People


Has the survey been reviewed by anyone?

This survey has been reviewed by an independent group of people called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect the safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity of those taking part. The West London REC (Reference no 16/LO/0155) gave this survey a favourable opinion.


How we choose who takes part.

We've chosen children and young people at random to make sure we get a truly representative picture of everyone in England. For the survey to paint an accurate picture of our society, it is vital that as many people as possible, from all walks of life are interviewed.


What does taking part involve?

If you have received a letter asking you to take part, an interviewer will call at your house to explain more about the study and will be happy to arrange a convenient time to conduct the interview to suit you. Interviewers are available during the day, in the evenings and at weekends and carry an identity card, for your reassurance.

If you are the parent or guardian of the selected child then you will be asked questions about their general health, development and wellbeing. If you are the selected child or the young adult and are aged between 11 to 19 years old then you will also be asked questions about your general health, development and wellbeing.

By taking part in the study you will ensure that your circumstances become an important part of the bigger picture of life in England today and will be helping to influence matters that affect us all.


What information does the survey collect?

The survey collects information about health, development and wellbeing, including information around, emotional disorders, conduct disorders, hyperkinetic disorders, autism spectrum disorder. It also collects information about social media use and bullying.

A consultation about the content of the survey was carried out between 27th November 2015 and 5th January 2016. A report on what people told us they wanted is available here:  

pdf icon The Survey of the Mental Health of Children and Young People 2016 [977kb]


What happens to my answers?

Your answers will be completely confidential and we will make sure that no-one can be identified from the results we publish.

The answers you give will be put together with the answers collected from thousands of other people across England. The survey findings will be analysed anonymously and statistics produced which do not identify you or anyone in your household or reveal personal information which might be used to identify individuals. The statistics will be published in a report and tables which will be freely available on the NHS Digital website.

If you agree, we would also like to link your survey answers to information from other datasets about health and education. These include the NHS Central Register, Hospital Episode Statistics and the National Pupil Database. This would help if we wanted to follow up your health status in the future and it would allow us to link to information about your child's educational attainment. We will ask for separate permission to do this in the study and give you more information about it then.


What happens to the survey data?

The data will be treated as confidential as directed by the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Official Statistics. You can find out more about this code here.

The survey data are useful to other people. An anonymised and reduced version of the dataset will be made carefully. By anonymised we mean your name, address and date of birth and other information which might directly identify you is removed, and in addition, other data are removed or categorised into groups that are less detailed to ensure the risk of disclosure is remote. This process of disclosure control follows Government Statistical Service guidance.

This anonymised and disclosure controlled dataset will be made available on the UK Data Service catalogue for the purposes of not-for-profit research, teaching or personal educational development. You can find out more about the UK Data Service here (ukdataservice.ac.uk). It is home to the UK's largest collection of digital social and economic research data.


Latest Report.

This is part of a series of surveys, and earlier ones took place in 2004 and in 1999. The most recent publication is about the 2004 survey and is available in the NHS Digital publication catalogue: Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004.

An anonymised dataset is available in the UK Data Services Catalogue.


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