30% of children in Northern Ireland have a mental illness, the highest rate in the United Kingdom


More than a quarter of children in Northern Ireland have a mother with mental illness

More than a quarter of children in Northern Ireland have a mother with mental illness

Andrew Madden

According to a new study, more than a quarter of children in Northern Ireland have a mother with mental illness.

This is the highest proportion of mental illness among mothers in the United Kingdom.

In a study published in the Lancet Public Health, researchers at the University of Manchester examined children born between 1 January 1991 and 31 December 2015 enrolled in the Primary Care Clinical Practice Research Data Center.

The study found that just over half of British children had a mother with mental illness before the age of 16.

In Northern Ireland, 29.8% of children have mothers with mental illness. Then come Scotland (26%) and the East Midlands (25.4%).

Levels were the lowest in London with 16.8%.

The study also found that the prevalence of mental illness in the mother was correlated with the degree of deprivation. Numerous studies conducted in recent years have shown that Northern Ireland is the most disadvantaged region of the United Kingdom.

According to research, the number of children exposed to maternal mental illness has increased significantly between 2005 and 2017.

Dr. Matthias Pierce, author of the study, said: "In addition to the consequences of caring for a mother with mental health problems, these children face many challenges, including living in poverty and having a teen parent.

"While many of these children are very resilient, they are more likely to suffer from a range of negative life outcomes, including poorer physical and mental health, low levels of education, and poor health. poor quality of life. "

In the UK, the number of children whose mothers were treated for psychosis or personality disorders increased between 2005 and 2017, as did those with depression or anxiety.

Professor Kathryn Abel, another author of the study, said the research was not meant to stigmatize women with mental health problems, but to "recognize the numbers and needs of these children".

"This study highlights the extent to which reliable and detailed information provides vital information for researchers, policymakers, clinical curators, and education and health service providers," she added.

"The timely and appropriate reallocation of funds to areas of greatest need is now needed to make health care and health research funding more representative of the disease burden in the country."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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