Research showing that one in 10 children suffers from a mental disorder reflects 'just the tip of the iceberg', according to mental health charities demanding increased resources and action to recruit staff.

The Office for National Statistics findings demonstrate clear links between poverty and mental illness, and show more boys than girls are diagnosed with a disorder.

The early findings - which will form part of a full report next spring - suggest that 16 per cent of five to 15-yearolds in households with a weekly income of less than£100 are suffering from a mental disorder.

That figure drops to 6 per cent in households earning£500 per week or more.

But the Mental Health Foundation pointed out that although the figures were 'shocking', they included only those children in touch with services of some description.

Director June McKerrow flagged up the charity's own research earlier this year which found that overall one in five children experiences 'some type of psychological problem'.

The links between income and mental disorder are supported by analysis of social groupings.

The children of unskilled workers are three times more likely to have a disorder than the children of professionals.

Among five to 10-year-olds, 10 per cent of boys and 6 per cent of girls had a disorder, while among 11 to 15-yearolds, 13 per cent of boys had a disorder compared with 10 per cent of girls.

Conduct disorders were twice as common among boys, while four times as many boys as girls had hyperkinetic disorders.

YoungMinds said the publication of such data was 'immensely valuable' in drawing attention to the problem.

The charity this week launched a 10point manifesto at a House of Commons reception with health minister John Hutton.

It calls for an 'end to the postcode lottery' of mental health services offered to children in difficulty, increased accountability for services, improved links between health and social services, the development of better staff training, support for schools and specific measures such as the creation of a national parenting programme.

Spokeswoman Deborah Loeb said the manifesto had 'inherent' resource implications, but funding was 'only part of the problem' that needed to be addressed.

She added that better workforce planning to 'rectify existing and future staff shortages' was 'a real priority'.

Mental health of children and adolescents.

Office of National Statistics. www.ons.gov.uk