White children are more likely to suffer mental health issues than their peers, a major study has found.

The rise of marital breakdown has been blamed for the higher instance of “emotional problems” among white children, with researchers pointing to “better family cohesion” in ethnic communities.

A report published today [THURS] details findings from the largest ever population based survey of children mental health and wellbeing in England. Researchers at University College London (UCL) and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families analysed survey responses from 30,000 children aged 11 to 14.

They found that white children were “significantly” more likely to experience mental health issues than those from black, Asian, mixed and other ethnic groups. Children were given a score based on their answers to series of questions about their emotional state, including whether they have experienced feelings of depression, anxiety or tearfulness.

If their score was above a certain threshold it meant their mental health issues were such that there was a “high likelihood” that an intervention, such as counselling, was necessary.

One in five white children (20 per cent) had scores that were above the threshold, meaning that their mental health issues were such that there was a “high likelihood” that an intervention was necessary, such as counselling. This compared to 14 per cent of children from other ethnic groups.

– Camilla Turner

Read more: White Children More Likely to Suffer Mental Health Issues

Photo source – Flickr.com