The mental health spectrum

At any one time, a child or young person may be anywhere on a spectrum between being healthy and unwell. Many children move along the spectrum at different times.


1,000 Children: a model for local commissioners

Centre for Mental Health aims to change people’s lives by applying research evidence to everyday practice. We’ve developed this model to help local authorities, schools and health service scommissioners to identify the different levels and types of mental health support they need to offer to children and young people in their communities.

This infographic shows what kind of support is needed among a population of 1,000 children to have the best possible start in life. It demonstrates that all children can benefit from universal programmes that are shown to promote good mental health and resilience.

Of those 1,000 children, at any one time:

  • About 150 have a high risk of poor mental health and may need extra help to prevent later problems;
  • A further 70 will have a common diagnosable problem for which they need effective help;
  • 17 will have a serious problem needing specialist treatment ;
  • One will have a very serious condition that requires hospital care.

Every community is different, and will have different assets and issues. Planners and commissioners will have a greater in-depth knowledge of the needs of the children they serve and the communities they live in. This infographic is, however, intended to be a guide to indicate the likely levels of need and the range of services that can help children to enjoy better mental health and a brighter future.


How many children are experiencing a mental health problem at any one time?

The evidence shows that every year, one in ten children experiences a mental health problem. Learn more about current prevalence and trends among children's mental health in our recent analysis of a longitudinal study, the Millennium Cohort Study.