More than one in ten primary school boys is labelled with mental disorder

More than one in ten boys at primary school are being labelled as suffering from a mental disorder, amid growing concerns about their classroom behaviour, research suggests. The Telegraph reports.

The NHS report, which examines the factors which may increase the risk of mental illness, found young boys were twice as likely as girls the same age to suffer such problems.

The figures from NHS Digital show 12.2 per cent of boys aged between five and 10 were found to be likely to be suffering from a mental disorder, along with 6.6 per cent of girls.

Emotional disorders were equally likely in both genders, but behavioural problems which can include autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were twice as common in boys.

The analysis comes from research on more than 9,000 children, including 3,597 aged between five and 10, whose teachers were also quizzed.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it was possible that some disorders were more noticeable in boys, and being missed in girls.

She said: “It is likely that conditions such as ADHD and Autistic spectrum conditions are recognised more in younger boys than girls. Girls are more prone to develop an emotional disorder as they grow older and as they become more aware of social pressures.

“This may explain why there is a levelling out of the rate of any mental disorders between boys and girls as they move from primary to secondary school. It may also be that we are not recognising conditions – such as ADHD – in girls and this is adding to the pressures that they face.”

Read more More than one in ten primary school boys is labelled with mental disorder

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